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Russel Shank's Profile

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Portland, OR transplant to Woodbridge, VA moving to Adelphi, MD instead!

Our family moved to Springfield/Lorton from NE Portland (& Tigard) about 17 years ago. Thank the gods that fate sent you to Maryland. I don't know Adelphi well, but if there is one major cultural benefit to living in the D.C. area, its the high education of the people but mostly the exposure to the world's cultures. Any suburb of the city has a wealth of SE Asian, Chinese & Korean, Central & South American, and Middle Eastern food. Also, we have the county's largest Ethiopian expat population. The restaurants are born out of thriving immigrant communities (rather than Americanized novelty, or well done but solitary imports), so they compete against each other for the business of native palettes. Northern Va has Eden Center and the Skyline Drive center for full on Vietnamese and Ethiopian immersion.

You have to do a lot of driving here :\ , but there is a lot to uncover. The D.C. area is littered with all kinds of Italian, German, French, Russian, etc specialty gourmet markets, and impressive full-on Asian and Latin supermarket chains.

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Eden Center
Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

Uyghur/Xinjiang/Chinese Muslim restaurant in DC area....

A few months ago, I bought the topic back up on the Uyghur American Association's message board. No real discussion though.

I imagine this is one of those things, that if some enterprising Uyghur took over/joined shop with a struggling kabob place, there would be a foothold and it'd take off. Especially in the Arlington area.

where to find GOOD QUALITY sichuan/szechuan/szechwan peppercorns?

I've been cooking w/ a brand from a local chinese market in D.C., Its the only brand I've seen, but they don't tingle and numb like you'd expect though. F. Dunlop's, "Land of Plenty," makes a point of noting that most brands at the market are terrible, and good peppercorns are hard to find.

Anyone know of a really dependable/outstanding brand?

Jun 27, 2010
Russel Shank in General Topics

How long will unopened commercial thai chili pastes last?

I don't know about expired (I've never checked.)

I have kept Maesri canned pastes opened, and only covered w/ tin foil and a loose rubber band though for months and months. Areas around the side actually turned black (I'm guessing from oxygen exposure)... I just scooped off the black and the top layer, and used it w/o any problems. Depends on the paste though, some are solely plant material, some have fish or crustacean ingredients and some have more oil which helps bad stuff culture.

Jun 01, 2010
Russel Shank in General Topics

Poaching Eggs for 10+

I was gonna suggest the same.

I poach a batch of eggs every few days and leave them in a refrigerated bowl of water. The only challenge is not "cooking" them upon reheat -- tough getting the yoke warm (or just 'not cold') w/o congealing its exterior.
Give it a shot though and practice at dinner, w/ reheat a couple hours later.

I've always heard you should use 1 tsp vinegar for every egg, so maybe that means it loses its punch? I re-up if I've done four or so, but never seen what happens if I don't.

I usually do three or four eggs at a time. Vinegar really helps, plus keeping it at a simmer not boil. Maybe you can just run two or three pots at once, with the eggs broken and in little dishes waiting to go (or have someone helping you break them.) With two pots, poaching three eggs each, for three to four minutes.. you could have a dozen poached in under ten min. You shold change cloudy water, so two pots spares you the waiting time on cold water.

Depending how many days you have until this meal, maybe you can poach half a dozen one evening (single dual pot attempt), store in fridge, and reheat pairs of them for breakfast.

May 31, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

What Else Can I Make with Ground Turkey?

Turkey Chili is good.

This is also good, and uses a lot of turkey (its essentially just spiced garnished ground meat.) However, it is Thai/Laosian/Cambodian, can be spicy depending how you prepare, and thus may not be a hit with kids. That said, it is total fun food eaten with the hands, taco style with a piece of lettuce. It can be made kid friendlier by having a variety of sauces on hand to apply -- duck sauce, thai sweet chili sauce, hoisin, anything at the asian store that looks good, etc.

Larb -- http://thaifoodtonight.com/thaifoodto...

I make it with ground turkey (as they suggest), and its great. If you make it w/ sweet/sticky rice, it'll go over even better. I make a few pounds at a time, and stretch it out over the week.

May 30, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

polenta in hush puppies?

or Cachorros sin Voz (Voiceless Puppies)
Cachorros no Soplón (Puppies Don't Snitch)
Cachorros Silenciados (Silenced Puppies)

May 30, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

polenta in hush puppies?

and you'd have to call them Cachorros Silenciados

May 30, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

polenta in hush puppies?

Hey -- similar question... what about Masarepa?

May 29, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Ja Jang Myun in Annandale

Maybe they're North Korean beans and onions...

HIGH HEAT GAS at home, real wok cooking, outdoor jet burners...

Reiteration -- I am definitely NOT going to bring anything like this indoors.

Cooking outdoors is the main attraction alongside getting to cook w/ the high heat. Also, definitely looking forward to not caring where that oil residue and splatter ends up.

May 27, 2010
Russel Shank in Cookware

HIGH HEAT GAS at home, real wok cooking, outdoor jet burners...

Its summer. I refuse to wok cook on a stove anymore. I want to set up an outdoor burner, but am wondering if anyone can share their experience with (pretty cheap) high heat gas home set ups.

I've looked at cheap outdoor jet burners on Amazon, and would consider buying a used restaurant stove top burner piece. I have no idea if there is a wide range of quality with the little jet burners, or a world of difference between those and your standard commercial kitchen burner. I see a spectrim of different configurations, nozzles arranged in different patterns... no idea what's what.

I don't care how it looks. I even prefer if it appears small and unpredictably dangerous (for easy storage and "leave this alone" intimidation value.) It's just going on the deck

May 26, 2010
Russel Shank in Cookware

Shaved ice in the District?

On H Street (Atlas) there is a "Philly Shaved Ice" or something. It looks pretty neighborhoodie..

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

Man, I'm pretty sure. I recall looking at the two and thinking "uh." Can't find it on the big regional grocery's website though. Maybe I'm thinking of something I saw in an afghan market... or wishfully imaging an impossibly hassle free short cut to making that kadu thing.

What's the deal w/ pumpkin, taste wise? The only time I pay attention to pumpkin is Halloween. I imagine those things are like tomatoes -- designed for appearance, not taste. That the case?

May 22, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

BBQ/Southern food pilgrimage from DC to Western Virginia

tomato on beef....

maybe we really should let them succeed. Some people are irredeemable.

BBQ/Southern food pilgrimage from DC to Western Virginia

I dunno. I feel like we get a higher caliber of contributor on CH. My experience with Yelp has always been one step above "Google comments." With enough reviewers, you can get the gist. There's a lot of blabber on Yelp, but not much reasoned explanation from clearly knowledgeable folks.

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

Really? I've never used it, but seen it beside the puree stuff. I've been meaning to try making this Afghan dish (Kadu, Kadzu?) with it.. Ive used the puree though for a really really good pumpkin cheesecake recipe from youtube.

Can't imagine what else the "chunk" would be used for.. then again, I'm not a real cook. I guess the same thing people do with squash slices/chunks

May 22, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

BBQ/Southern food pilgrimage from DC to Western Virginia

Thank you wise Chowhound sage.

Still, I'm surprised someone hasn't mapped America's best BBQ joints, considering how big GPS and iPhones are.

It would be cool if CH did a feature on cuisine tours -- like a BBQ tour, seafood tour, etc. Plenty of TV shows have done this, but it'd be nice here, where lots of participants' (rahter than just a single host) and review and interpret the experience. Also, former customers can make reccomendations in advance.

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

About Pumpkin Crack...

puree or chunk pumpkin?

May 22, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

BBQ/Southern food pilgrimage from DC to Western Virginia

I did a quick seach of "BBQ map" on Google and got the link below. Most of the results though, were maps/directions from the websites of individual restaurants.

http://www.southernbbqtrail.com/map.s...

How is it, that there is not yet a national map of reputable BBQ joints? shameful..

Puerto Rican Food In The DC Met Area???

I posted a query about mofongo recently, and Caribbean Breeze was similarly suggested.

Haven't tried it yet, but let me know if you give it a shot.

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Caribbean Breeze
4100 Fairfax Dr Lbby 1, Arlington, VA 22203

The Thai Pantry

um, peanuts (universal, but still).... pickled/preserved turnip... shallots... cilantro...

May 20, 2010
Russel Shank in Features

Bagged lunch ideas- NO FRIDGE OR MICROWAVE!

They'll be that way. You can poach an egg, and keep it in water for a couple days -- when you break it, it wont be any different than if it was just cooked. If you want it warmer, put it in warm water. Just not so hot that it cooks the egg more.. just enough to take on the temp of the water.

May 20, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Bagged lunch ideas- NO FRIDGE OR MICROWAVE!

that's why you put them in warm/hot water for a while, before eating.

May 20, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Bagged lunch ideas- NO FRIDGE OR MICROWAVE!

Hey, not a great suggestion, but poached eggs.

You can cook them the day before, and keep them in water, in a small plastic soup/yogurt container. If you can toast some english muffins (or toast at home, and keep form drying out), butter them, and put the poached egg on top. Its my favorite quick breakfast thing. Plus, it isn't "lunch pail" food. You're actually eating something nice, and it isn't idiot-proof, so you don't feel like you're six years old.

If you're really terrible at poaching, you can practice until you get some good ones and a good technique -- they keep for up to a couple days in water.

There's all kinds of ways you can supe it up too -- some chives, some precooked ham, paprika/salt/pepper/spices, fresh grated parmesn, spinach cooked in boiled thermos water, etc. In a brown bag you can fit your container of poached eggs, one or two eng muffins, whatever else, and a little paring knife. Prepare it on a plate, and eat a nice little meal like an adult, and not a kid picking over bagged food.

If you have the space, and your coworkers aren't obnoxious about it, maybe bring a small toaster over (store it in your desk even.) Toaster oven means you can warm a plate of spaghetti and crisp some garlic bread. It makes reheated work lunches so much less pathetic, trust me. If you store it in you desk, you can store spices, paring knife/cutlery, etc in a little box inside of it.

You can always pack hummus, pita, slice of tomato, avocado, feta, etc., and make a nice wrap. Five minutes of cutting, ingredients fit into leftover Chinese rest soup containers, ice pack is nice but unnecessary, really easy and fresh. If you can toast some falafel and the pita, all the better.

May 20, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Asian grocery store in District?

check this thread. Hana is tiny, but probably the nicest. Only japanese though.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671943

Any Chowhounds have cooking experience in prison?

interesting story of yours, thanks for sharing it

I'd bet the nice meals were recycled from a commercial kitchen somewhere

May 14, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Any Chowhounds have cooking experience in prison?

I believe it. When you've got little other source of satisfaction, or creative outlet, AND your diet is forcibly challenged from the get-go, you probably obsess over food and devote your time to it.

D.C.s Central Kitchen has a ex-con and homeless food service education program. Anthony Bourdain showed it on his DC episode. pretty cool

May 13, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Any Chowhounds have cooking experience in prison?

speak of the devil (sort of).. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/201...

May 13, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking

Any Chowhounds have cooking experience in prison?

There's some pretty ingenious cooking methods they've devised, like sticking the end of a radio cord or antenna or something into a bowl of water for boiling.

Yeah, funny thread. I was curious b/c I always hear about the ingenious stuff they do. I had a friend doing a near year of work release jail time for graffiti. He did a show after finishing with his drawings from that time, and served "Ding" to the gallery guests instead of cheese and wine or whatever. Pretty funny. It was like relish, crushed saltines, and some other stuff. so weird.

Hey man, if you're curious about that rooftop farm, there is going to be a big feature on the Huffington Post and the NYTimes. I came up to help set up the farm today and someone was shooting it. I think the HuffPo piece might be about roberta's bees actually though. (either way, it should pop up soon.) If you're interested in doing stuff on the farm, check out their site/blog.. it looks like they have a lot of long-term volunteers. 40k sq feet is huge.. so I guess they need them.

May 13, 2010
Russel Shank in Home Cooking