Bada Bing's Profile

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Bread Knife for Crusty Breads

Never thought of hack saw! I'm sure it would work,

39 minutes ago
Bada Bing in Cookware

Bread Knife for Crusty Breads

Yeah, I think my biggest loaves are actually most often just 10". Usually what I do is cut the loaf right through the middle and then put the cut sides down to make for shorter and more stable cutting.

It takes some jiggering.

about 6 hours ago
Bada Bing in Cookware
1

Bread Knife for Crusty Breads

I hear you. But these settings are not so informal. Also, the crusts that I make are strong enough to present a problem for my arthritic mother. Even a healthy person would have to do some serious tearing to get into these loaves. Worth it, though.

about 11 hours ago
Bada Bing in Cookware

Bread Knife for Crusty Breads

Hmmm. I tend to make round loaves, and they're often 10-12" diameter. Do you think the 9" is effective for that?

I've made do with my 9" serrated blade, but I do have to jigger around and sometimes get some uneven slices, but it's no big deal to me.

about 11 hours ago
Bada Bing in Cookware

Bread Knife for Crusty Breads

Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone!

It's interesting to hear that what I call the "wavy" style of blade edge can be effective. I've never owned one, but the ones I've used when visiting others' places have been hopeless. Maybe it just means the blades were way dull.

about 11 hours ago
Bada Bing in Cookware

Guiltiest Guilty Pleasures

Amount of time spent scrolling Chowhound?

about 24 hours ago
Bada Bing in General Topics

Bread Knife for Crusty Breads

I make a lot of rustic bread with serious crusts and softer but high-gluten interiors. My own bread knife is a saw-tooth cheapo that I've had for longer than I can recall--I think I inherited it from my grandmother--and it works okay, but maybe it could be better with more length.

Anyway, I have some friends who love my bread. Every time I take it to them, they ask me to cut it, and their knives are in no way up to the task. I'm thinking of gifting them with a knife, as well, next time I bring a loaf.

Unless someone can argue me otherwise, I won't accept that those wavy-type blades are up to this kind of bread. I also suspect that micro-sawtooth types are not ideal.

Suggestions for something effective and affordable?

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Cookware

Pulled pork without a smoker - suggestions?

This would be my approach, too. Don't cover. Or perhaps make sure not to cover for the last several hours.

I have a large broiler pan which I like for this sort of thing. I place wide foil onto the top pan with the drain slots, then cut holes through the slots for drainage. (You can put more foil in the bottom pan, too, as pork fat, esp. when sweetened, is a bear to clean up.)

Liquid smoke is also genuinely good stuff--a natural distillation product. Be sparing.

Sep 15, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

Stand mixer - worth having?

Good comments. Re: Bread Machines, I have and recommend Zojirushi, but Panasonics have a great reputation, as well.

In fact, Panasonic seems to do most small-motor things a cut above (like their cordless drills).

Sep 15, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Tomato sauce HELP!!

Idea: drain canned tomatoes through a colander into a vessel. Use the reserved drained fluid only later, as needed; and in some cases, it is not needed.

Sep 14, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Stand mixer - worth having?

Wow. So your only option is to discard it? Or return?

Sep 14, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Stand mixer - worth having?

Wish I could get Amazon to send me stuff!

But a question: if you don't want the thing, you're also not allowed to give it, even to charity?

Sep 14, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Stand mixer - worth having?

I like food mills too, although for modest amounts of mashed potatoes I use a ricer, as the cleanup is simpler (my food mill is aluminum: not dishwasher-safe).

I love the fact that the old-fashioned food mill is something that can really do what no other tool does exactly as well: mashing items like tomatoes and eggplants while eliminating whatever you might not desire there (like seeds, skins).

Wine for steaming mussels?

If you are uncertain about a specific label, just ask for a dry white.

Sep 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Signs of a NOT Authentic Chinese Restaurant

I'm an American but a foodie adventurer. A few restaurants around here--in northern Indiana, no less--offer separate menus for American standard and "Chinese" items. Maybe look for that?

I find from extensive ordering off the Chinese menu (which seems mainly Cantonese) that the foods tend to be what average Americans might dislike as "gooey" or "fatty"--lots of bones in meat, gelatinous sauces, etc.--or sometimes in the opposite direction: dry preparations like a "Taiwan Chicken," which is sort of Chinese Chicken Nuggets but not easily integrated into rice and sauce. These places will use gai lan rather than broccoli, for example.

Many Americans, though, really have no palate for those things--especially the textures.

Stand mixer - worth having?

Actually, in addition to yeasted doughs--including very glutinous ones like bagel dough--bread machines can make jam, cake, pasta dough, bread pudding and a few other things I bet. At least in mine, which has a number of settings.

Not that many people wring such mileage from bread machines. For me, superior high-gluten lean bread doughs are the big clincher.

Sep 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Stand mixer - worth having?

Well, 170+ responses in a week or so! I only add my two cents because it's a bit different, for what it's worth. I have been tempted but never got a stand mixer.

First point: I do NOT make cakes, quick breads, cookies or any batters very often, nor do I cream sugar and fat together or do any number of other more pastry-like preps with any frequency. Otherwise, I'd get a stand mixer in a minute, because they rule there. But....

I often use a bread machine for kneading doughs--in my case almost always high-gluten bread doughs of the sort that stand-mixers (apart from $1600 Hobarts or old-school KAs) struggle with a bit. And even then, many of my recipes go with the no-knead approach. My bread machine is a quality Zojirushi, but most any bread machine does that process well, and they're to be found for a song used at Good Will or whatever.

Interesting to see that people make meat loaf and mashed potatoes in stand-mixers. I'd think stand mixers would be too violent for that, but I have no experience. In either case, however, I'm alway making a point of not overworking things there: mix meat loaf by hand; mash potatoes with either my food mill, my hand masher, or my manual ricer.

I have a pasta machine, too, but no power-roller attachment, as it's pricey, but that would be genuinely useful for lasagna and raviolis. The KA has such an attachment, but likewise very pricey.

Some of the issue for people might be quantity. How many are you cooking for? I cook for 2-4 most always. I really don't see a stand mixer justified for the space it takes, not to mention cost. But where something is genuinely useful, I don't balk at cost. But who needs another counter appliance around without knowing there's plenty of use for it?

Bread machine (used), power hand mixer, ricer and pasta machine could be had for $100 easy.

Sep 11, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Subbing vinegars

Acid/Ph is the main issue. Look up the comparative levels and match as best as can be. There are tricks for adjusting ph balance with baking power and citrus and so forth.

Sep 11, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

WOK SIZE - does it really matter?

Chiming in with others: 14" is minimum practical size, I think, for a 1-3 person prep scene, and even 3 persons is pushing it. The issue is the size of the bottom center of the wok.

I just measured the flat bottom on my 14" carbon-steel wok. It's 5-6" wide.

For many wok preparations, you want to apply really focused heat for a small period of time and then shove the stuff up the side in order to apply that heat to some other element. The 6" bottom is a practical minimum to cook in that fashion.

The power of your heat source is also key. Use your hottest burner (assuming you don't have, gasp, a non-stick wok!).

Sep 11, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

What to do with gallons of 2% milk

A big batch of mac and cheese (say, using two full pounds or more of pasta and a pound of cheese) can use up a lot of milk as well. The cooked result freezes pretty well in portions, so my teenage son likes to be able to nuke that back to life easily.

Sep 10, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

What to do with gallons of 2% milk

Interesting idea.

Sep 10, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Garlic Question

Look fine to me. Maybe some of the blemished parts I'd slice away. If it passes a sniff test, I'd assume it's nothing.

With a black, green or blue blemishing, I'd be more worried.

My unscientific two cents!

Sep 10, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Red wine with America beef stew .

All very sound. But you say "almost easier to do that in advance," and it seems that this is the point that people are fussing about. Is it easier or almost easier? Better? The approach you endorse seems very sound to me. I think savory long-cooked items generally improve with a day or more of aging. But I'm puzzled by any implication that no other (more direct) approach works, or why we basically like-minded people should sweat the difference.

Finally, again, I'm sure that WHAT wine is being reduced is not something to be ignored. I wouldn't strongly reduce any red wine high in oak.

Sep 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

Red wine with America beef stew .

Good point. I think that Syrah and Shiraz might be distinguished on this point, but I was just trying not to be complicating. "Shiraz" is the Aussie denomination, and also used in USA to indicate a "New World" riper style of Syrah. I agree that much of that New World stuff is too sweet and low in acid for cooking.

Edit p.s.: I think that Shiraz and Syrah are the same species, just grown differently in different places, like French Pinot Noir and German Spätburgunder.

Sep 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Best bottled BBQ sauce? (without Liquid Smoke - ick)

I'll second Ttrockwood's rec for Bone Suckin' brand. But I wonder if you might do better to steer in a direction like Teriyaki or Hoisin sauces. BBQ without smoke is basically a contradiction in terms, and if you're using a crock pot, you won't get genuine smoke. Just forget smoke and BBQ. There are lots of other flavor profiles out there.

I'd suggest you try an Philippine adobo chicken, but I've personally never fancied the vinegar component. It's a good crock-pot prep.

There are some Tex-Mex braises that use Chipotle and Poblano, but I think each of those sometimes get smoke. Just milder smoke.

Maybe chicken cacciatore in the crock-pot? Chile verde?

Sep 08, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Red wine with America beef stew .

Maybe Puffin3 is thinking of port wine, which is commonly reduced, and much higher in initial alcohol.

I find it hard to imagine reducing many red wines by half as a pleasant move. Better not be much oak in there. The idea of a reduced Spanish Gran Reserva (very oaky) sounds nasty.

Less oaky ones? Many Grenaches, Beaujolaises (Villages, not Nouveau), Barberas, Sangiovese. Should say on the label.

Life's there to experiment!

Sep 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

Red wine with America beef stew .

Try dry white wine, instead? In preparations like chicken cacciatore and most braises, I prefer it, even when red is called for in many recipes.

Sep 07, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Red wine with America beef stew .

Meant to say 187.5ml bottles. They're like a single serving.

Sep 07, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Red wine with America beef stew .

I disagree with many of your points here, although I admire your intensity and detail. And I agree on one point: a dash of fish sauce is helpful in most any savory braise/stew.

Star Anise would not suit me, but I have not yet tried it in the very small quantity that you indicate. Maybe?! I use it only when making Pho stock and certain East Asian preps.

Sep 07, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Red wine with America beef stew .

Not sure where you live. But when a recipe calls for a modest amount of wine like this one, then I would advise you to see if your supermarket sells those small (375ml) bottles individually. Very cheap and simple. Just make sure to avoid sweeter styles, which predominate mostly in white wines, anyway. Anything red and labeled Cabernet, Zinfandel, Burgundy, Syrah/Shiraz or Pinot Noir should be dry enough.

There are some sweeter styles of red, like German Spätburgunder, and then many fortified ones like Port (alcohol 18% or more), but you're unlikely to find them in those little cheap bottles.

In recipes that involve a higher proportion of wine, like Coq au Vin, then I would urge more concern for wine quality. In lower quantities, though, I think that wine's main function is to release flavor compounds that are only volatilized by alcohol.

Sep 07, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1