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Bada Bing's Profile

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Sunday Gravy

I did do that same search before posting--I always do due diligence--but the variousness of remarks there is part of what made me want to create a post which is exactly about such variousness.

I have to expect that consensus is unlikely, but I wondered.

One of the more striking points to me is how differently people stand on the proportions of tomato, water and/or broths, and the degree to which fluid reduction matters as opposed to simply time needed to cook collagen-rich elements into fall-apart tenderness.

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Sunday Gravy

I have a lamb neck (cut into 6 chunks) and some great heirloom tomatoes in sauce form now (great summer for tomatoes). Also have some hot Italian fresh sausages. All these elements turned my mind to trying for the first time a "Sunday Gravy," which I've begun to investigate. I used to think that BBQ and chili were the surest topics to stir up passionate controversy, but I think Sunday Gravy is at least as mystified and various in its recommended approaches.

Rather than invite a futile discussion of what the "right" way to do this is, I wanted to see what people with experience have to say about recipes or approaches that matter most to them.

I ask from a sense that the Chowhound community might be better targeting for information than the Google-verse.

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

What to serve with French Dip sandwiches?

I go with the cole slaw crowd, on crunch grounds. Thinking outside the box, though, you might consider a jicama salad, which adapts better to lower-calorie recipes. E.g:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...

It's tempting to suggest leafy salads, but those might wilt too much.

Other random ideas: something with Asian Pear or even julienned crisp apple (with some lemon juice to prevent browning). Also, some diced celery and peppers briefly pickled in vinegar and herbs and chile pepper flakes.

Aug 24, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Par-boil Lobster

Boy, that's an ambitious menu choice at that quantity. Frankly, my first thought was, "Try something else, like King Crab, or almost anything else." :)

But, to respond to your terms: I'm with those who say parboiling is a no-go. Chefj has said what I'd say.

However, you might by a lot of frozen lobster tails. I see them often, but I've never had them. Evidently there's some market for them.

Aug 24, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

FRESH CORN SIDE DISHES! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (August 2015)

I recently diced potatoes into corn-kernel size, laid a sliced serrano chile in hot oil in a skillet, and cooked the potatoes with spices and herbed butter in the skillet. Meanwhile I boiled some corn a bit and then cut it off the cobs to mix into the potatoes. I'd have used some bacon, too, if I'd had it.

Would you travel out of the U.S. for a great steak?

Argentina. If I get a chance to go there, that's every meal for me. I speak from advice from my trusted Argentiian expat friend.

Aug 21, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

What oven range to buy?

I don't think we differ on many points. Good observations. I DEFINITELY agree that ovens differ, and indeed every time I've moved, I've noted that it takes me a few months to figure out how I can get as much as possible of what I want from the oven/range.

I'm interested that there are 25K BTU burners available. I haven't researched this issue in many years. Although I did buy an outdoor 60K BTU wok burner, which certainly does the trick but would probably be beyond what should go on in a residential indoors environment.

An oven that could inject steam at certain points would be awesome for bread baking! Would cost a lot, I suppose.

Aug 21, 2015
Bada Bing in Cookware

What oven range to buy?

I'm serious about food and cooking, but I do not think that there is much quality difference in most kitchen appliances these days that can be counted on to matter. Apart from WOW factor or home resale, I doubt that pricey ranges give benefits corresponding to their added costs.

I would take seriously the matter of having one or two burners with the highest effective BTU levels allowed by code, and with venting to match. My own gas range is an old GE "Hotpoint" with one 18K BTU burner, a couple of mainstream burners, and another burner which is lower BTU for gentler operations (which I've found useful).

I make pizzas and have figured out how to go into the oven's service menu and adjust the temperature 35 degree above the 550 announced maximum (so when it thinks it's at 550, it's actually at 585).

Ovens are like knives: basic tools that we need to learn how to use to the best of their abilities. Also helps to know that spare parts will be quickly and inexpensively available.

For such a large-cost item, I suggest you go to a library or subscribe online to Consumer Reports, which tests ranges objectively.

Aug 20, 2015
Bada Bing in Cookware

Repurposing leftovers

Your ideas are already great.

I find stir-frying to be an excellent method for quickly adapting random leftovers. In fact, when I cook rice, I make extra so the leftovers can be used after 1-3 days drying out. Having some Thai chile pastes in the fridge is good here. Handful of green beans from a day or two ago? A slice or two of bacon or pancetta? An egg? Some sweet peppers and onions? In they go!

I sometimes make extra pasta for the same reason--to make a frittata sometime later. Also I will cook extra potatoes sometimes with every intention of using them down to the road for a Spanish omelette.

Another favorite for me is to save all shellfish shells (in the freezer) and then later use them to make a very quick broth for rice or cous-cous or soup. Right now, in fact, I have some lobster, king crab and shrimp shells frozen that will soon go together into a bouillabaisse or paella.

Aug 20, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Awful tasting real maple syrup - what the heck?

As the one who's never heard of maple cake, I'll just reaffirm and also say that I don't bake cakes or do any sweets much, so perhaps that's just out of my horizon.

Still, I've never made nor even seen or heard of a maple cake. I wonder if it has some regional character.

Aug 19, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Awful tasting real maple syrup - what the heck?

So you were not using real maple syrup for years, were only pretty sure you liked it even back then, and then made a maple cake (which I've never heard of) with two cups of maple syrup--it's too bad that you were unhappy, but that's a pretty intense change of gears!

You might just not like real maple syrup. I use only genuine maple syrup (Uncle Luke's Grade A Dark Amber, presently in fridge--Canadian). But I really am not a big fan of maple flavors and use it only for pancakes. I really dislike maple-flavored donuts and the like, but I bet they don't involve genuine maple anyway.

Kind of like hazelnut, it's just not a flavor I take to except in great moderation. More generally, I'm not into sweets except in moderation.

Aug 19, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

What to do with Szechuan peppercorns?

I like Penzey's ingredients but do not trust at all any of their "ethnic" recipes.

Aug 18, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Russian purple tomatoes?

A neighbor gave me some cherry tomatoes rather like these. Said they were "Crimean" and the plants were from the local farmer's market. Very tasty.

Aug 17, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Cost of lamb and it's popularity in the U.S.

I'll add my two cents to say I don't know why it's so but I do think it's so that lamb is MUCH more expensive in the USA than it was ten or so years ago.

I do find two kinds of price-cutting avenues. The annual 4-H County Fair here in Indiana has big livestock auctions, and my favorite markets usually buy up a ton of lamb, and often provide unusual cuts at that time as well (such as neck and breast). Also, I live close enough to Detroit that I can sometimes make a stop in Dearborn, MI, America's biggest concentration of ethic Middle-Eastern immigrants, and the place is full of great Halal butchers with lots of price competition.

Aug 17, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

What tools, ingredients, etc. should I bring to a beach house rental?

Bring small amounts of spices in sandwich baggies--in keeping with your cooking style(s). Much cheaper than buying new bottles in some random place (if even available). I use 5-7 spices and dried herbs in numerous rubs and dishes, and that'd cost you $30-40 or more to buy new.

Kosher salt (if you're like me).

You've mentioned the pepper mill, so that's okay, but often overlooked.

Olive oil. Selection can be crappy at tourist locales.

Oven-safe skillet.

Aug 16, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Thermapen: Where to get the best price?

Thermapen's own website runs frequent special--mostly, it seems, to offload retiring colors. I bet you could get on their mailing list.

Aug 15, 2015
Bada Bing in Cookware

Thai Red Curry / Thai Panang Curry

Thinking outside the box, you might try the India-centric Patak's line of chile pastes.

Aug 15, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

How can I thicken a Lentil Soup Without Flour

Grind up some stale bread or cashews?

Aug 14, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Horse meat

I think another factor in American Hippophagophobia (trotting out my Greek) is that extensive medicinal and steriodal treatments are commonplace in parts of the horsey world here, and I don't think it's well understood whether that compromises the healthfulness that might otherwise be in horse meat with regulated raising.

Good real balsamic vinegar under $50?

How can you tell?

Aug 09, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Good real balsamic vinegar under $50?

I can vouch personally from repeated purchases for this 18-year balsamic (tradizionale).

https://www.theolivebranchinc.net/bal...

They keep the price point low by importing it from Italy in bulk and bottling it themselves in 375ml bottles.

Aug 09, 2015
Bada Bing in General Topics

Fresh tomato ideas

Thanks for all these great ideas. The soups, in particular, were not on my radar, and I think I'll try that with at least some of the current bounty.

Aug 05, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Fresh tomato ideas

I have now the annual event of gobs of heirloom tomatoes, but I don't have as many ideas as I'd like about what to do with them. There are 14 big tomatoes (Brandywine, a sweet, low-acid heirloom variety) on my counter, and more to come.

My familiar routine is to make a Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella or to make a quick red sauce for pasta, with the tomatoes blanched to remove skins and then briefly cooked in EVOO and garlic, etc.

Any other ideas about what to do with a bounty of exquisite tomatoes?

Aug 04, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Watery Rhubarb Pie

I only use flour. I don't use strawberries. Depending on the rhubarb itself, it can be more or less runny. I just roll with the runny-level rather than work to set it up with tapioca or the like. That runny stuff is good to ladle over the pie, with or without ice cream atop.

I note that the remaining pie thickens nicely in the fridge over night, although I still try to bring slices to room temperature before serving.

Aug 03, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Road trip Pacific NW

Hi, Kaleo,

I really don't recall about the windows, but La Tarasca is definitely a Mom and Daughter operation, and it is about halfway between the freeway exit and downtown proper, so it's probably the place you mean. I went there again last week, as it happens, and was again delighted.

Cheers,

BB

Jul 31, 2015
Bada Bing in Pacific Northwest

Duck legs dry-brined, now what?

I'd rinse it off, pat dry with paper towels, and dry 24 hours in the fridge on a rack.

Jul 26, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

Informal dinner challenges

I'm attending a familly reunion (actually meeting my remote relations via my father's second wife). We number about 20 and are staging everything in a good-sized house, buffet style, and people disperse into various small groups with plates (dinner table, island seating, patio tables0.

The challenges for me, as my family always likes me to do some cooking:

(1) I seldom cook for large groups--my daily routine is cooking for 2-6, where you can do more demanding prep--so I'm tentative and inexperienced in thinking of dishes that work with a large crowd (just the issue of scale; for example, nobody could make Pad Thai for 20 at home);

(2) we also have the usual modern mix of some vegetarians, a vegan or two, a healthy dose of gluten-intolerant type (including one serious case of Celiac);

(3) a limited portion of this group has much taste for anything I would call hot (in the spicy-peppery sense).

Any ideas how to navigate this minefield with say a main and side or two?

Jul 24, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Road trip Pacific NW

In the WA town of Centralia, so named because it is centrally located between Seattle and Portland, is an excellent, although hardly pretentious, Mexican restaurant called La Tarasca. They specialize in the Mexican regional food of Michoacán--which means, among other things, that they don't offer free preliminary chips and salsa but instead a kind of pickled veggie starter.

Their strengths are in moles, carnitas, much else. You can look them up on these boards. The main point: this is not Tex-Mex. It's another world. I would arrange a day around timing a visit to this place. (Happily, it is shortly off of I-5, a bit south of Olympia.)

Jul 22, 2015
Bada Bing in Pacific Northwest

Disappeared thread?

Yes, it's back (for better or for worse). Thanks for your efforts.

Jul 21, 2015
Bada Bing in Site Talk

Fun things to do with huge basil leaves?

There are lots of recipes involving stuffing with a soft cheese (cream cheese, ricotta, goat, etc) and any desired accents. Good party poppers. E.g.:

http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/...

Jul 21, 2015
Bada Bing in Home Cooking