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We just butchered a pig - Fresh "Ham" Slices

Agree wholly with Karl S: skin on and scored and cooked as a roast, that special. I think steakifying is kind of a waste of opportunity.

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Variety in veg

Varies regionally and seasonally. Where are you?

Apr 28, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

You add a pinch of salt. How much is it?

Helps to work with a salt you're accustomed to. I rarely use iodized table salt, but Morton Kosher, which seems more available here than Diamond. But a pinch will vary according to fineness of salts.

Maybe an additional question of interest: in what dishes might it matter most to distinguish such small differences in amount?

Apr 27, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

When was the last time you had a REAL hot dog?

Two days ago. I get Eckrich branded natural casing dogs at my supermarket deli. The market for a while carried Nathan's natural casing dogs in its main hot-dog area, but apparently they stopped. Not sure why, but skinless dogs seem to dominate the mainstream market.

Apr 24, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Sourdough Starter Recommendation

Your post does make me wonder about one thing in connection with your desire for an "intense sourdough taste."

I have a starter which is now at least 15 years old, not that I think age matters much, but it has always produced relatively mild-tasting loaves (wonderful flavor, but not intensely "sour").

I've lived in the CA Bay Area and know their distinctive style, which is a bit more tangy. But I find that much commercially marketed sourdough is actually laced with vinegar, an addition I really dislike.

So about intense-ness in sourdough, I wonder if using a higher proportion of starter, or a longer rising time, would affect the sourness of a naturally produced loaf?

Apr 23, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Hot Dogs... Grilled, Boiled, Steamed... or really?... Microwaved?

My optimum is a natural-casing dog slightly blistered over charcoal, although hot water dogs can be very fine, too.

Apr 23, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Sourdough Starter Recommendation

Over the long term, in my opinion, you cannot maintain several different starters in one place. They will be colonized by the lactobacilli in your area.

Apr 22, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics
1

recipes for extra bacon

Great crumbled in salads. Also, wrap/coat some sea scallops in it

BLT is hard to beat, as noted already.

Green beans braise, also.

Apr 15, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Gendering of Food

Not a basis for conclusions, as you note, but that's a pretty special anecdote.

Apr 12, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Wow - advice needed...containing the power of hing (asafoetida)

I keep it in the garage.

Apr 11, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Help with braised lamb ideas

Actually, as I think about it, if I had what you describe and didn't want a roast (not a likely circumstance), I consider boning it out and making a lamb-based roulade, although recipes you'll find are generally beef:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/be...

This works well if you have the accessory ingredients and are okay with making sauce and, ideally, cous-cous (or spaetszle or some other starch).

Use the bone to make a stock for cous-cous or rice or a sauce base.

Apr 11, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Help with braised lamb ideas

Leg of lamb can sometimes be too lean for long braising. But here's one link that departs from the usual roast:

https://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/d...

Also:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/la...

There is a large array of Indian preparations, but I wouldn't recommend them without knowing your available spices and their freshness.

Apr 11, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Mail order Chicago Deep Dish Pizza?

I live about 90 miles from Chicago and decent frozen deep-dish is always in supermarkets (Gino's East seems the best of that bunch). I don't buy it unless on sale. Luckily, we have a local pizza place which makes deep-dish at least as well as any I've had in Chicago itself (and I have tried most all the biggies there).

Here's a thread for Seattle-area on this topic:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8813...

Apr 10, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Please Review: A Weekend in Atlanta

I'm glad to see your outsider report, as I might visit there myself soon with zero experience. I do have to add that Atlanta sees oddly lacking in any highly distinctive type of cuisine, and maybe I'm wrong, but if I am not, I wonder why that would be so. Perhaps its too much a crossroads terrain to be that way,

Apr 09, 2015
Bada Bing in Atlanta

Gendering of Food

While I'm hardly eager when it comes to prejudicial assumptions, I do have to say I've seen some truth in experience that women tend to gravitate to sweet and men to savory--obviously, though, the exceptions and qualifications are massive.

But, a case in point: there are two local restaurants (one, more really a cafe) that specialize in desserts. The one restaurant serves a full menu, but it is known for these gargantuan desserts that leave most patrons needing to take half of it home from sheer fulness. I'm male, and would never think of going there. But the local wives love gathering there.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that there is a biological basis and not merely a cultural one for this distinction.

Apr 09, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Gendering of Food

There is a cafe in my Northern Indiana city called "Indulgence." They sell muffins and cakes and tarts with coffee. I'm male, and that place's name has always seemed female-gendered for me. Do men think of getting a muffin as "indulgence"?

Apr 08, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics
1

Side dish help?

Add me to the veggie salad fans on the lighter side of the fat-spectrum. However, braised green beans are good at room temperature, as are artichokes and brussels sprouts.

Apr 08, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Changing Eating Habits b/c of Foodborne Illness Risk

I've read about the prevalence of Salmonella on chickens but I'm not aware of ever having an illness problem at home. Likewise with eggs, which I routinely consume with parcooked yolks. One possible protective factor is that the market I have used for many years sells pretty high-quality products.

Because salmonella danger can be reduced through cooking, I think a greater danger is raw veggies. Most instances I've heard in the news seem to be about raw greens, peppers, and other things than can get various pathogens on them in handling and then get consumed without cooking.

To your specific question:I am vigilant about possible cross-contaminations but I cannot recall actually steering away from a food-group on grounds of worry about food safety.

Apr 06, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Introduction to Turkish Food.

You might add green beans, too. My Turkish neighbor years ago made this as a prized dish. Recipe example:

http://tanyazouev.com/fasulye-turkish...

Apr 05, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

Anybody trying to start eating dinner? I haven't for years.

You should have Darling do some cooking, too--maybe on a schedule. Sounds as if you are not enthused about daily cooking.

That said, I have some thoughts about quick dishes. First, you need a pantry of ingredients suited to your tastes. In my case, for example, I find that having some Viet/Thai curry pastes in the fridge (they last a long time there) provides a good base for rice stir-fry with whatever protein you might latch onto (chicken, shrimps). Get a rice maker if you don't have one. The cheap ones by Aroma are ok.

Pasta in butter sauce, with herbs, if you have them.

Keep some butter at room temperature and you can make grilled cheese sandwiches anytime quickly.

There are some vegetables, like peas and carrots combo, that are pretty worthy bought frozen, so they just need a quick simmer in salted water for preparation.

Apr 01, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics
1

Shrimp Paste

+1

Mar 26, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Toaster Recommendation

I read a year or two ago in some reputable reviewing site--Cooks Illustrated, Consumer Reports?--that after testing a bunch of toasters at many price points, they didn't really like any of them (except for some designer-guy branded item available at Target only and since discontinued. Not sure if they tried the Dualit that some people speak well of here.

My take-home thought was: damned hard to find a worthy toaster these days. It's possibly a cheapness of materials issue, but it wouldn't surprise me if some regulation went into force about how powerful they're allowed to be, with fire safety in mind. Calling Fire Marshal Bill!

Analogous, then, to banning phosphates in dishwasher powders: good for the environment, bad for washing dishes?

Mar 26, 2015
Bada Bing in Cookware

Bread Baking Conundrum

I don't think it's the pan.

Bread will split at its point(s) of least resistance at the outer edge of the dough. This shape suggests to me that you should work on forming the dough ball to ensure that the point where you seal the dough "skin" is stronger than the point of opening invited by the scoring on top.

Here's my practice: when forming the dough for final rising, you should use both hand and stretch the outside of the ball as if trying to push that outside into the center of the loaf at a certain small point (for me, at the top. By repeating this several times as needed, the exterior of the dough (provided there is sufficient gluten-formation) will start to get smooth and almost skin-like, except at that "hole where you're folding the outside into the interior. When it's nice and smooth, make sure you have as little excess flour on the exterior as possible, so that the open "hole" at the top will be moist enough for you to pinch that part closed very tightly. There should be no significant seam apparent. That part of the dough should then go dead-center bottom during baking.

I agree with those who say that deepish scroring (1/4"-1/2") on the top is also advisable. Now you have created a point of much less resistance to expansion than you have with that seam on the bottom from kneading.

Mar 26, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Should vindaloo be sweet?

I've thought of Goa together with Gujarat and Mumbai as relatively Western-Central and not especially Southern, but I've never been to India.

Mar 22, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Should vindaloo be sweet?

Maybe we should think of vindaloo like "chili" in the USA: people get doctrinal at times, but there are variations of great significance reflecting different traditions.

I recall searching out mustard oil as part of trying make something advertised as a preparation style most indigenous to Goa. The result was not especially hot in the sense we associate with, say, cayenne powder or red chili powder. Instead, it had a unique kind of heat-burn, combined with a vinegary note. Negligible sweetness.

That said, in most American places, vindaloo simply is their name for their hottest curry, usually but not always pork. No mustard oil, little or no vinegar.

Mar 22, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics
1

Ideas for dinner for 6

OP reporting back:

I'm hanging on to all these great suggestions.

We had a great meal. The only suggestion here that I followed directly is Ttrockwood's roasted cauliflower steaks with chimichurri sauce. The sauce and our first semi-warm weather this year turned me to thinking an Argentine theme, so I ended up grillling a thick-cut 2.5lb beef sirloin, which also takes well to the sauce.

My guest brought artichokes. My one store-made addition was a very interesing kind of "red beet slaw, slightly pickled, which turned out, as I expected it might, to be a neat little accent to the rest.

Cool dinner. And sign it up among the usefully simple-but-good menus. Thanks!

Why did my chicken stock ended up too spicy?

It's the white peppercorns, which are way hotter than black. Just use black peppercorns.

I'm not actually sure what red peppercorns are.

Also, for chicken stock, 14 hours is about twice as long as needed, but not a deal-breaker. I wouldn't put garlic in either. I love garlic, I just don't think it plays well with long-cooked stocks. I just use water, an onion cut in half, chicken parts, and 10-20 black peppercorns. I love garlic, etc. but I think stocks are best made very elementary, and then you amend them in later cooking in the direction you desire. Don't use salt, either, because the degree of reduction makes the final salinity unpredictable. Good luck!

Mar 21, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Why did my chicken stock ended up too spicy?

What color are your peppercorns?

Mar 21, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Steak grilling and temps

I hear divergent views on grilling steaks--in my immediate case, a 2.5lb chunk of top sirloin. I've often heard that people should take the steak out first to gain room temperature, but on doing that once or twice before, I find the steak to be overdone. It would seem, if you want medium rare but also a nice sear, that you should keep the steak chilled until cooking. Thoughts?

Mar 21, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Ideas for dinner for 6

Fascinating suggestion!

Mar 20, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking