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Taramasalata Source?

U.S. source Taramasalata is usually made from Krinos Brand Tarama of Carp Roe and is much too salty unless cut with stale bread or potato in the recipe. The best outside Greece is in London where it is made with smoked cod's roe ( no resemblance to the Japanese roe-- the British roe comes in huge sacs; the Japanese in tiny sacs from a different fish, seasoned differently). I have searched for the British type of fresh smoked cod's roe in the Los Angeles area without success.

OrGREENic Cookware?

Scrambled eggs leave a thin brown fiilm of cooked egg which sticks. Even a rubber spatula won't get it out. The rest of the egg comes off easily.

It takes hot water and a scrub brush to get the egg film off but it does clean up quickly and easily. But it isn't non-stick, and I seasoned it after buying it.,

The "free" chopper is a piece of junk and isn't really free--the old "shipping and handling charge" scam.

When it was new oooking oil would pool up, because of the extreme non-stick surface. After a few uses this stopped happening,

I agree that they probably use some kind of spray or coating which goes away after a couple of uses.

If you don't mind the clean-up, it is a nice heavy pan and feels quite sturdy, But non-stick? Not,

By the way, I ordered by phone and they didn't try to scam me except that they made an extra charge for supposedly "deluxe" heavier weight. I think had I declined that upcharge I would have received the same pan. I declined faster shipping, but the pan came within a couple of weeks anyway.

This operation leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but if you accept that the pan isn't really non-stick, but rather easy cleanup, it isn't bad, As for the infomercial, there's something crooked going on there, since few have gotten the "amazing" non stick results shown on TV.

Jun 15, 2011
sternlight in Cookware

Uses for Maggi Seasoning

I, too, went on a Banh Mi kick, and also bought some Maggi seasoning which is used in most Vietnamese cooking and sandwiches. I loved the flavor, but made a horrifying discovery; it's almost all pure salt, even without added salt.

I started using it for a week, and gained a pound and a half. I then stopped using it and in the following week lost all the gain. It would seem to be retained water from the heavy sodium content.

Needless to say, the bulk of the huge bottle is now flavoring the Los Angeles sewage system. Too bad, because I love the flavor it imparts to Banh Mi and cooking in general.

I guess it is the Umami taste. After some research, the lowest-sodium additive source of that taste seems to be the Chinese lower sodium Kimlan Soy Sauce. Perhaps I'll try that. SanJ low sodium Tamari is also somewhat low, but significantly higher than Kimlan.

I should have noticed the giveaway on the Maggi label: a serving (high sodium) is a teaspoon, while most Soy sauces call a serving a tablespoon. And yes, I was using it in drops and dashes, not pouring it on.

I know tomato seeds are also supposed to be high in Umami, but that is a little impractical as a cooking additive.

Jun 11, 2011
sternlight in Home Cooking

Uses for Maggi Seasoning

I just picked up some Banh Mi sandwiches at the justifiably highly recommended Banh Mi My Tho. While there I saw cartons of Maggi seasoning. There were two kinds; the red cap (from Europe) and the yellow cap (from China). On impulse I bought a liter bottle of the Chinese version because unlike the European version it did not list MSG on the label (although I later found out "hydrolyzed wheat protein is the natural equivalent).

Never having used it before, I was making a salad when I read on the label that Maggi was good in salads. So I added some. It was delicious. But I probably added too much because I'm feeling the onset of "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" associated with MSG which I haven't had for about 40 or 50 years.,

Use very sparingly. Literally a few drops (not the splashes I used) is probably about right.

I recognized the flavor as what makes Banh Mi sandwiches so tasty after using it. It may even be the secret of the "Umami Burger"--dunno.

Jun 07, 2011
sternlight in Home Cooking

Homemade Hummus Help

Adding the liquid from canned chickpeas gives a bad taste. I rinse the canned chickpeas 3 times in cold water, while in the can, using a can-top sized strainer (some plastic sink strainers work--of course you use that strainer only for chick peas, and perhaps water packed tuna, for which it is sometimes sold, and keep it out of your sink drain) to drain the water each time. To thin the mixture I use plain cold water. It is important to blend the final mixture for at least one minute to get a good consistency. It also helps to first blend all the ingredients except the chick peas, and then add the chickpeas and blend again.

About a year or two after I started doing this, someone elsewhere posted that that was one of the secrets of her Lebanese grandmother.

Jun 10, 2010
sternlight in Home Cooking

Cold Sesame Noodles

Just ate at Mandarette. The cold summer noodles are the wrong recipe. Watery, not enough deep sesame/peanut flavor, sauce too thin. Same thing a few years ago at their old place (now closed) in Beverly Hills. I should have known better after the first experience.

In additiion I find the rest of the menu (as well as the noodles) quite overpriced and the flavors only good. Not worth a trip or even a detour (as the Michelin folks would say). Further reports from the field as the search continues with other places mentioned favorably here.

After Shorty Tang left, the noodles at the Szechuan Palace on 97th and Broadway in NYC went sharply downhill, same with the neighboring Szechuan Balcony. On my last visit to NYC, Ollies on Broadway not too far from Zabar's had a very good version. The other places I've found good versions include a little restaurant in Hong Kong a couple of blocks from the Peninsula Hotel (ask the Concierge) called Fung Lum (no relation to the Universal City namesake in LA either legally or culinarily), and the Chinese restaurant in the red house across from the Tokyo Tower in Tokyo. The latter can be confirmed by the photos of the late Danny Kaye (America's best non-Chinese Chinese cook) with the Tokyo chef, on the wall of the stairs as you go up.

Jul 30, 2007
sternlight in Los Angeles Area

Best Coffee in LA

I spoke to the Intelligentsia naional sales manager Paul in Chicago in charge of opening the LA place, and he says August. They picked a really weird location, 3922 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90029. Perhaps they're hoping to build a bean delivery business serving both downtown and the West Side and picked a place in the middle.

Jul 21, 2007
sternlight in Los Angeles Area

Cold Noodles with Sesame/Peanut Sauce

I;'ve been searching all over LA for the authentic New York recipe, a la Ollies. Only a few Chinese places make it, and all those I've found make a thin, mediocre prioduct. The First Szechuan Wok in Westwood used to have a New York Chef who make a pretty good version, but it went sharply downhill about 2 or 3 years ago.

The real NY version should have a thick peanut/sesame sauce, not a thin coating. And faking it by using sesame oil on the noodles is a no no.

Among the failed versions is Uncle Chen on Ventura, and Hunan Cafe on Sunset.

The dish is often called Ma Jaan Leun Mein (Cold Noodles Sesame Sauce) and sometimes Dan Dan Mein (though there are often completely different dishes that go by that name including some served warm).

Jul 21, 2007
sternlight in Los Angeles Area

Authentic Turkish Breakfast

Zankou's Chicken is basically Armenian, especially their Garlic sauce, which can now be bought in 8 oz containers for a little over 3 bucks.

Jul 21, 2007
sternlight in Los Angeles Area

Authentic Turkish Breakfast

Gulens at 14552 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks is Turkish. Dunno if he does breakfast.

Jul 21, 2007
sternlight in Los Angeles Area