Bada Bing's Profile

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What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

I've lived in many places, including a year in Alexandria City, VA. I think of Northern VA (and also the D.C. area--Ethiopian Adams Morgan) as making up one of the best multi-ethnic food locations I've ever seen. The only competition for quality and variety THAT I KNOW OF is LA, very much including the San Bernardino Valley east of LA, which has Chinese, Mexican and other things going on. God, I miss D.C. and Northern VA. And LA....

about 10 hours ago
Bada Bing in General Topics

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

Indeed, Mexican food especially is a commonplace in USA cities and a rarity in most other parts of the world. When I (an American) lived in Europe two years, I missed Mexican food more than anything else.

I've had and loved Ethiopian, but it's never been common enough here for me to get a "habit."

about 12 hours ago
Bada Bing in General Topics

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

Fair enough! I just speak from knowing an Italian and a Serb who had never seen pies as we do them in the USA. As for blueberries: I just never recall eating them or seeing them when I lived in Europe (2 years), but they are here in Indiana, quite perfect and ubiquitous, this time of year.

I appreciate the information.

about 12 hours ago
Bada Bing in General Topics

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

I'd serve what I find to be absent elsewhere but delicious here.

Just now: fried chicken, barbecue meats, corn on the cob, cole slaw.

Also, Europeans nor anyone elsewhere seem to have what we all know as pies, like plain old Apple Pie. It's not a tart, or anything like what they'd know.

Steaks from the grill.

Peanut Butter cookies.

Zucchini Bread.

Blueberries.

about 14 hours ago
Bada Bing in General Topics

Substitute for dried porcini.

Agreed. They just don't store quite as effortlessly, but they rock.

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Substitute for dried porcini.

Let me offer one of my most frequent suggestions: add a small amount of fish sauce (like a teaspoon or less) as a flavor move.

The stuff costs little, lasts forever on the shelf even after opening, and adds a great, subtle flavor to most any savory dish, especially soups, stews, ragouts and braises.

1 day ago
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
1

What to eat in/south of Everett before noon on a Saturday?

Belated followup report to this thread. We tried Patty's Eggnest and got very fine breakfast staples, but we are minimalists, so we didn't go to their signature omelets or waffles. The bacon and toast with our eggs was great. The place is busy and clearly popular.

Before, however, we arrived at Budapest Bistro, our first choice. That was shortly after 10a.m, but we found the place closed, lights out. There was literally no one there. It was sort of charming, in the European style of laxity about staffing and opening. I lived in Europe and know that way. "If you want lunch, show up at lunchtime, no matter what time we say we're open." By 10:20 they were ready to pour coffee and desserts, but we left, because we needed something heavier before the air show day. Still, I'm very game to try the place again, when possible.

Thanks for all the tips. If I go early next time, maybe I'll try Pho, traditionally a morning food in Vietnam.

Aug 17, 2014
Bada Bing in Greater Seattle

Best tasting broth sold in a store?

How do you mean to use the broth? I find that quality importance varies in proportion to quantity: the more the broth quantity you need, the more the broth quality matters.

For my own part, I'm one of those who makes and freezes lots of broth/stock, and I find that to be MUCH better (use ice cube trays to create smaller freezable amounts). That said, I would feel in peril without at least SOME ready-made broth in the pantry somewhere, just in case.

"Bases" like Better than Bouillon--or the various packaged tubs to be had all around, about a pint--are fine for applications where broth plays a minor role, as in fleshing out some couscous cooking liquid. And they last in the fridge due to their saltiness and preservatives.

For more demanding applications, like a soup in which the broth is a main factor, I try to have some Swanson's Organic Broth around. But having spent numerous years attending now and then to reviews of such packaged, ready-to-go broths, I have observed NO consensus on the best, leading me to suppose that they vary from year to year, like tomatoes and olive oils, or that people or testing varies.

About blandness: yes, stock should for most purposes be bland as possible as regards saltiness. Some might be carrot-like enough to interfere with, say, making a Chinese or Thai soup. But mainly, broth is there to be like a canvas: paint away!

Aug 17, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Which recipe easy to cook at dinner?

Would help if you'd list limitations. Do you want to avoid a lot of knife-based prep work, like dicing onions, carrots, mincing garlic, etc.? And/or do you have equipment issues, like a fridge too small to store a large pan of prepped stuff (making a day or two ahead can help for the time-challenged)?

For now, I'll second those who say that the simplest, normal USA dishes are expensive but good: try a chicken or (if you can afford it) a seasoned strip loin beef roast, with some veggies and rice. If you can do a bit more cooking time, a beef or pork shoulder roast can be great, and also even better the next day, so there is another make-ahead...

Aug 17, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

anything north of port Huron?

If your drive takes you by Sarnia, ONT, you might cross the border for:

Purdy’s Fish Market
1 Riverfront Road
(South of the Casino)
Point Edward, ON

Link:
http://www.purdyfisheries.com/docksid...

It's right near the bridge on the water with a river view and a great seafood reputation.

Aug 17, 2014
Bada Bing in Great Lakes
1

Chicken of the Sea VS Starkist

I'll add that our local SuperTarget also sells Wild Planet, and probably cheaper, but I noticed that they cut down on their initially wider selection from a couple of years ago.

The larger Wild Planent line included various tuna varieties, salt levels, and one or two types in olive oil.

Aug 16, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Chicken of the Sea VS Starkist

Haven't had Chicken of the Sea in ages; was underwhelmed completely by some Starkist canned white albacore that I recently found sharply discounted. But the OP can do side-by-side. Report back, OP!

Wild Plant is very fine and also American Tuna: both were written up by Cooks Illustrated (I think) with remarks that they alone among those tested were packed neither in water nor (with some exceptions) in oil but instead in their natural juices alone. So even while they cost a bit more, you lose less to drainage.

Wild Planet and American Tuna are also more sustainably harvested--caught without grab-all nets. Whole Foods sells many other such brands.

Aug 16, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Best base (onion soup mix, etc.) for a good pot roast??

+1 to Porcini! Also, consider using a teaspoon or two of fish sauce, or anchovies in any form (paste, tinned, etc.).

Aug 15, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
3

How Do I Keep a No-Bake Graham Cracker Crust From Sticking to The Pan?

Try parchment?

Aug 14, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

substitutions

I've never had peach schnapps around.. (Who has?) But the elements to sub would be white wine and some honey, I imagine--that is, provided you're asking simply because, well, who has peach schnapps around....

Also: consider any sweet alcohol thing, like Pernod or Grand Marnier.

If avoiding alcohol, just leave it out and add a small amount of any sweetener you like, such as honey or agave nectar or just sugar.

Aug 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

What food do you wash that you're sure no one else does?

As an aside, I'm reflecting that I'm not sure where in the world peanut butter is common apart from North America. It was among those things I missed when in Germany for some years.

Aug 13, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

new preseasoned cast iron smells fishy (rancid?)

I expect that you'll do fine from here out. Cast iron having any kind of smell is odd, apart from a metallic smell that can come about with new or newly stripped pans.

Do keep in mind that cast iron cookware is not always pretty, especially in the first period of seasoning, where color variations and variable seasoning are typical. A pan takes anywhere from 1-5 years, depending on use, to turn coal-black and acquire a strong, uniform seasoning, All the heavy scrubbing and acidic cleanses that you're doing lately should be left behind as soon as possible. I'd avoid repeating the tomato-based dish you mentioned for a while (too acidic). Time and prudence are your friends.

Aug 13, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Underrated Cuisines?

My first thought is varieties of German cooking, which the thread indicated by carolinadawg points to (it varies from South to North, and fades into Scandinavian, Polish, Austrian, Hungarian and other cuisines).

Then, there's also my beloved German-Turkish Döner Kebabs...

Aug 12, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics
1

new preseasoned cast iron smells fishy (rancid?)

Canola oil smells fishy past its smoke point, and 400 degrees is too hot. Just scrub it well and try baking again with a THIN layer of oil at more like 325 degrees.

Also, in my experience, the biggest enemy of cast iron is moisture, so I don't generally season the pan and then put it away. Instead, I always make sure to put the pan on heat and then rub a bit of water into it. When the water is fully evaporated, then you know the pan's bone dry. Store it that way and reserve the oiling and heating for the next occasion when you use it.

I've never had those pre seasoned pans, by the way, so my experience relates to the old-school pans. But the picture you attach above looks to me like a pan stripped of seasoning. Just give it some time. Cook some bacon!

Aug 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware
2

Desperately seeking advice on food storage containers

Rubbermaid's site might indicate a container that suits you (none of their current production has BPA):

http://www.rubbermaid.com/pages/Learn...

Myself, I don't think much about BPA for storage, but I make sure we reheat everything in Pyrex or Corelle (transferring contents, so that doesn't fit your hopes).

Cooks Illustrated recommends Snapware Airtight brand;

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004173QZO/?...

Aug 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Need gluten and oil free recipes for relatives coming to visit! Please help!

I agree that the restrictions/inclusions surrounding oils and fats are a real head-scratcher. I knew someone who had to avoid fats after gall bladder surgery, but I don't think that butter had an exemption.

Given your announced restrictions, I'd lean on butter-centric sautés and other preps. For instance, brown-butter and sage dressing for pastas. Also, Indian cooking with butter or ghee offers great variety.

Aug 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

What food do you wash that you're sure no one else does?

Sorry to hear of the salmonella! Must have been rough. I didn't know peanut butter was among the conveyances of that bug, but I guess most anything can be.

Aug 12, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Memorable food stories

Among countless memories, the one that comes first to me is from early childhood, when we (Americans) were in Ankara, Turkey, in the 1960s. My little sister and I used to hang around near the neighborhood's construction workers at lunchtimes hoping that they would share some of a sweet confection that I found out over twenty years later to be halva, a nut-butter treat. I still think about how generous they were and how shamelessly greedy we were.

Aug 10, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

What I should I serve with the champagne for a wedding toast?

Congratulations!! My first thought: nothing but the champagne.

But, if you must have something, I'd favor some cheese on crackers...

Aug 10, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Please help with (specific) ideas for frozen dinners?

I'm not certain from your post how much cooking you're contemplating--that is to say, how much prep work prior to saving the results in meal-sized portions. But as you've mentioned buying meats/poultry, I'll assume you're fine with the prep work.

Much of what comes to mind for me involves separation of starches from the meat portions. Alas, potatoes do not freeze well. But rice and even cooked pasta can go some way.

Ideas:

1. Braised meats or other moist-cooked ones freeze well. Stews, stroganoffs. chicken paprikash, chicken cacciatore, pulled pork (from shoulder/butt cut), or also less spicy versions of chili and curries go in this category.

2. Also, I often make extra rice with the intention of using day-old cooked rice for fried-rice dishes, which reheat well for several days from the fridge and which also can be frozen. Apart from the usual Chinese-style fried rices, which emphasize soy sauce and sesame oil, consider making Thai-style versions (my preference), which I make using homemade or store-bought chile pastes with garlic, onion, eggs, and various other little flavor notes (dried shrimps, lemongrass, galangal, cilantro).

3. Soups! With some bread on hand, these rule.

4. Enchiladas portion out easily and freeze pretty well.

5. Roasted whole chicken or turkey can be eaten from for days.

6. For the fridge, I often make a "base" for salad consisting of those drier elements that do not hurt each other when kept in a large Tupperware container in the fridge for days: lettuce, carrots, peppers, celery, cucumbers (with the wetter inside scraped out, or just use English style cukes). Then I put in many other items best stored until showtime: tomatoes, feta cheese, chick peas, olives, pickled peppers, etc. I also usually have in the freezer some pre-cooked ("grilled") frozen chicken strips, which thaw quickly and can be added into the salad, e.g.:

http://www.tyson.com/Products/Grilled...

Those chicken strips are not my favorite given their additives, but their convenience is not to be sniffed at in a pinch.

p.s.: consider getting a vacuum sealer like FoodSaver if you mean to do a lot of freezing.

Aug 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Easy BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

Solid recipe. I was concerned by all the reviewers commenting on saltiness excess, but I used Morton kosher, and saltiness was just right. I did use un-enhanced pork, and that might be the crucial factor. Other readers should note that this volume of table salt would be WAY too much.

Aug 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Recipes

Basic kitchen equipment and supplies?

I agree, also. Start from what he wants to do. As for gear, I suggest he consult Cooks Illustrated online (subscribe for a year, even) to seek best-of-type tools, from skillet to pepper mill and roasting pan, etc.

Aug 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Does anyone have a recipe for this type of flatbread? I bake lots of bread including pitas and naan bread but this is something I haven't tackled yet.

I see a basic pizza dough, but with significant fat (butter, olive oil) and moderate hydration, using AP flour rather than bread flour.

Aug 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Jamie Oliver wood handled steak knives - feedback

Anything non-serrated by Wusthof would be excellent, I bet. Score!

Aug 07, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Blender soups?

I haven't yet received the unit and whatever book is included. But I should clarify that I'm asking about points that might well lie beyond the manual or included cookbook.

For example, I make some Indian-style soups for which a crucial early step is browning onions--not all the way to caramelized but close. Onions do not brown even at boiling temperature, as they need to lose their water-content in order to go higher in temperature to brown. I strongly suspect that I will have to brown onions first in a skillet before the blending stage in order to do these specific soups.

There seems to be a good deal of acclaim for these blenders on grounds of simplicity: put everything in there and get it hot, with some late add-ins where some chunkiness is desired. But I want to give this tool its best shot at excelling absolutely, without giving primary credit to simplicity alone.

Aug 07, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware