Bada Bing's Profile

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Have you ever used a Pressure Cooker?

I agree that a pressure cooker is awesome to have when one routinely cooks those tougher meats.

My other favorite is artichokes. Cuts the time in half or better.

about 7 hours ago
Bada Bing in Cookware

Have you ever used a Pressure Cooker?

I'm with sunshine842 here: a crockpot is functionally identical to a slow braise.

It also shares many traits with a rice cooker, except that rice cookers typically use thermostats to shut off when the moisture has evaporated.

I have all these tools and more, and value things for what they do well. A pressure cooker is great when time is tight and also when I can predict pretty surely how much time is needed. Opening and closing/restarting pressure cooking is a drag, whereas you can always poke into a slow cooker, add a bit, adjust, etc. But it does sure take longer. Often as not, I've got the time.

about 7 hours ago
Bada Bing in Cookware
1

how to make popcorn more shelf-stable.

How sure are you that airtight-sealed popcorn doesn't already stay fresh as long as you wish? I'd use a ziploc bag, first thing.

In case you're correct that it doesn't, the next thing I wonder is whether you might use a vacuum sealer without damaging the popcorn.

Note: most affordable vacuum sealers seem prone to breakdowns, so it's one of those things to buy with replacement stragegies in mind (e.g., get one with a replacement warranty from Costco or Sam's Club).

about 18 hours ago
Bada Bing in General Topics

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

Your dinner life sounds pretty intense! :)

Maybe instead of throwing them out, you can shoot a Fellini remake! La Strada II.

Best fish to be served with a mushroom risotto.

It's interesting to me that I don't think I've ever seen sturgeon as a commercial fish. On looking a bit into the topic, it appears that the fish in its various species is widely endangered. Same is true, if maybe less so, with Monkfish.

BTW, I'll mention this good fish sustainability website:

http://www.seafoodwatch.org

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Best fish to be served with a mushroom risotto.

Are you planning to serve everyone or just the one guest the fish?

Anyway, good sea scallops are hard to beat for this prep., and monkfish is another strong possibility. I'd go for scallops if the prep. is for the pescetarian alone. Sage and brown butter sauce.

Dec 16, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Hot sauce - What do you have in the house

Old thread, timeless topic. I keep several at all times: McIlhenney tabasco, Frank's Red Hot, Sriracha with the rooster label, and sambal oelek,

Dec 16, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Rib eye roast - Moist on cutting board dry on plate

I don't cook rib roasts often enough to speak from much experience, but I do share PegS's initial thought: especially if the roast was large, a kind of cooking can persist for a good 30 minutes or more (longer with big turkeys).

Consider using a different temperature, most likely a lower one? Myself, I tend to cook meats like that either at 280 or 425 or a combination of those (or I use a quick broil after low-and-slow cooking).

Dec 16, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Lots of Parsley

Consider parsley logs frozen. It's worked for me:

http://awaytogarden.com/growing-and-s...

Dec 15, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

How do I cook a ham that falls apart and isn't juicy?

I had this thought, too, greygarious. But I would call it country ham, as Smithfield is but one brand.

If the OP could say where he/she lives, then we could address how best to try that option. The hams are dry-cured, an American counterpart to Italian Prosciutto or Spanish Jamón.

If the OP simply wants regular American cured ham to be dry and crumbly, I'd suggest buying a spiral sliced ham and then (over)bake it to, say, 150 degrees.

Dec 14, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Should I bring a whole fish to a dinner party?

No, if it's hosted at a home.

Maybe eyes are an issue for some, but for me, it's just not a bring-to-house dish. Own it at your own place. where you can control timing and temperature. Otherwise you're just throwing a curve ball at the host.

Pantry Essentials

Fish sauce
AP and Bread Flour
Sriracha
A few cans or cartons of chicken stock

Dec 13, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Pantry Essentials

I find Goya to be a good brand for beans, but I don't always find Goya outside Latin markets.

Dec 13, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Declining quality at Costco?

I might need to eat some crow soon. Stopped by our new local Costco and, while I didn't go into the frdge area for produce (little time), I did nthink the meats and seafoods were dazzlingly good looking, and the pricing excellent. They even had dungeness crab, which I'm not sure I've ever laid eyes on in Indiana. Great looking mussels (although it's not every day I can need 4-5lbs of them). The food samples were all terrific.

Dec 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Chains

Oven browned meat?

Grandma's have that way about them.

I think cast iron dutch ovens are invaluable, esp. for heat retention.

Dec 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Declining quality at Costco?

Sorry if I was unclear: I know about all that and tried to make plain that I like Costco. I have a membership and look forward to things like tires, eyeglasses, batteries, countless things. I just don't make it my go-to place on an everyday basis for fresh whole foods.

That might change a bit with this new one opened less than two miles from me. I'll have more opportunity to see what's up.

Dec 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Chains

Perplexing Problem with Pizza Stone

Can you turn your oven fan off in the lower oven? Air might somehow be an issue. With a double oven, the smaller cavities could be complications.

Anyway, my stone (measured via infrared thermometer) is generally whatever temp the oven is, more or less, after an hour of heating, sometimes higher when I locate it near the bottom. I have always had gas ovens. At highest end I measured the stone at 570 degrees once with the oven at 550.

Get an infrared thermometer. You can go to an auto supplies store for one (they were originally, and still, used most often by auto mechanics to assess engines, coolant systems, etc.). Here's one online:

http://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Laserg...

As I said above, with pizza it takes a while to learn the ropes with any new oven.

Dec 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Oven browned meat?

Actually, each of the pans you describe has some sub-optimal qualities for this.

Cast iron has good heat retention and is the best of these three, but it also tends, for the very same reason that it holds heat, to have hot spots under gas burners rather than to spread the heat freely (less of an issue with electric coils).

I've got a Reveware stock pot that I use for boiling pasta, but mine, at least, is an un-clad old-school thin-metal-bottom one, and it's the last pan I'd use for browning, because there is not enough copper or aluminum at the bottom to spread (conduct) the heat effectively. That said, my mainstay cookware is also by Revere, but it's their Revere Pro Line, bought for me as a gift by a sister in 1996: clad with aluminum and copper layers but only on the bottom, so not as good as fully clad, but I've made it suffice for almost 20 years--unbelievable. I don't think it's made anymore.

Finally, some kinds of browning can happen on a teflon-style pan, but here you're working against the grain of that material, because fond builds from an initial stickiness, controlled, and the food mostly released. Teflon does all it can not to allow that first stickiness.

If you have a modest/average budget, I suggest going out and pricing some Tramontina or Calphalon stainless, bottomclad/all-clad, 12" skillets (or sautoir/saute) pans. The pricey gold standard is All-Clad brand, if you can stomach the handles, which I cannot.

You're not a bad cook. You just need a lot more vigilance than others do when working with equipment that's doing you few favors for this specific work.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Oven browned meat?

In addition to temperature questions, posed by many above: what exact pan are you using? Also, what cut(s) of meat, and how large relative to the pan?

In any case, I'm with those who feel that flour isn't a significant element in fond. I think flouring meats early on has traditionally been viewed as providing a basis for an eventually thicker sauce, as in pot roast. For fond, it helps to pat the meat good-and-dry first, and don't skimp on fat.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Oven browned meat?

Mostly true, but you want screaming hot for Cajun/Creole blackened preps, like green beans. In fact, I take my cast iron to white hot if possible inside, then take the pan quickly outside to a ready grill so the neighbors' smoke alarms can go off instead mine. ;)

Some types of wok cooking: same.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Vitamix pro series 750 vs. Vitamix Vita-Prep 3 - Opinions Needed

I vote for the 750 on the basis of this analogy:

Would you buy a commercial toaster because it is built to sustain making toast all day, every day, when in fact you make toast, say, five times a week? If you figure that a toaster is likely to manage a given amount of usages, it could take you years to catch up with one week of restaurant usage.

The longer warranty on the 750 is much more likely to work to your advantage. Also, the 750 is notably quieter (there's even a YouTube demonstration somewhere) and fits under kitchen upper-cabinets.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware
1

Vitamix pro series 750 vs. Vitamix Vita-Prep 3 - Opinions Needed

The refurbs do come with a slightly shorter warranty, but I agree that they're a deal.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware
1

Oysters

You have a lucky boyfriend. :)

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Thai Cookbook Suggestions

Where do you live? I ask in order to gather what access you have to what level of Thai ingredients. What many people rightly regard as the "best" Thai books will be burdensome in places where you cannot get such things as galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, dried shrimps, etc.; the Thompson books in particular are known for making no compromises in the ingredient sets.

I find these ingredients hard enough to find fresh in Indiana that I stuff my return suitcase with them everytime I visit my relatives in WA near Seattle.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Declining quality at Costco?

We just had a first Costco open near me in northen Indiana, and I'll give their stuff a try. I've had years of exposure to Costco foods from numerous holiday and Summer visits to my family near Seattle. They all adore Costco. But I have to say, I have rarely been excited by their produce. Every once in a while, a relative will have a tray of Costco peaches or apples or the like which are terrific. But I think my shopping mode has allowed me to develop different and higher expectations.

Their shopping mode: they have large families and numerous gatherings with 15-25 people or more. So logistics make buying those big bags of pre-cut broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc., pretty tempting.

My shopping mode: I most often cook for two persons and seldom have really large gatherings. So I have less use for volume packaging. But beyond that, I have concluded that I also get better quality very often at a good local market. How do I know? Because I cook a lot, and when I visit my family and make foods there, I shop at their local Safeways or their Farmer's Market or other stands. My relatives often remark on how "good" the items like broccoli and brussles sprouts look when I bring them back, even before they're prepared. I think Costco has accustomed them to some compromises in fresh whole foods. Anyone know, for example, if something like Costco's 3lb bag of broccoli florets utilizes any kind of preservatives or treatments? In any case, I don't think storage in a sealed bag does any favors to cut broccoli.

Not that I'd chide Costco in general. Seems like a good company for lots of purposes, and very often they do have some killer packaged food products, like a salsa or hummus or pickled beets...

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Chains

Olio Nuovo (new harvest olive oil)--Uses while calorie-counting

December now, and I got a couple of bottles of new-harvest Italian olive oil and am looking forward to using them before their newness is a thing of the past (basically over the next few months).

I make very good country bread and nothing pleases me more than just dipping such bread into great olive oils. Also great drizzled on bruschetta. But I am looking for further ideas, perhaps vegetable-intensive, so I don't end up parading through so much starchy food. Offhand, I typically go through lots of asparagus in Winter and early Spring, so that's likely.

I'd be interested to hear what other ways people use their best oils.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

German food - undeserved bad reputation

I like prima's etymology post, but cannot be sure what the intended implication is.

The given etymology supports the notion that Schneider and Schnitzel are related, but it indicates that you have to go all the way back to a Proto-Indo-European stem (sneit). Thus it would be akin to the relation in English between "magic" and "dismay," both of which go back to a thousands-year-old root "mag," meaning roughly "power" (magic is a power; to dismay means to take away power). I love etymologies.

For this topic, I would have suspected a closer shared lineage. When you consider how much German language dialects can vary even to modern times, a difference like Schneider/Schnitzel is nothing.

Dec 12, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics
1

Forgot Frozen Stouffers Lasagna in trunk of car for 2 weeks, is it okay to refreeze and eat since its been cold out?

30-40 degrees is exactly fridge range. Probably safe, but I wouldn't risk it, especially if your car is garaged. I'm not sure how good a Stouffer's would be after two straight weeks in the fridge. What does the label say?

Dec 11, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Ham Bones For Soup

I prefer good smoked hocks, myself,

Dec 11, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Oysters

And don't forget texture!

Dec 11, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics