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BKK Brendan's Profile

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Boiling Egg

Once I started steaming eggs, I've almost never had any problem peeling. That goes for fresh or old eggs.

Jul 18, 2013
BKK Brendan in Home Cooking

Grilling bone-in steaks, chops

The only good tip I know of is to make sure the grill is hot on only one side, then grill the steak with the filet side towards the cooler half of the grill. That way the filet side will cook a bit slower.

Seems to work well for me and then I just sear it quickly at the end of cooking when it's about 10 degrees below the desired temp.

Jun 22, 2013
BKK Brendan in Home Cooking

World's Top Airport Based Eateries [split from UK]

How Five Guys made the list, and how it is higher up on the list than Pat LaFrieda's burger restaurant, is beyond my comprehension. Otherwise it's not a bad list. I've been to a lot of those airports, but sadly have only eaten at a couple restaurants on the list.

Jun 09, 2013
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Any fresh Copper River Salmon (circa 2013) sightings yet?

You can order it directly from the source online to anywhere in the US. I've been doing it for years and it always comes very well packed and fresh. It's not cheap but it's definitely cheaper than the $50 per pound that some people are paying. At the moment, you can get Copper River King and Sockeye, Spot Shrimp and Halibut fresh (never frozen) from the site I use.

Jun 05, 2013
BKK Brendan in Los Angeles Area

wow - stunned at whisked scrambled eggs

I've only been able to do perfect 30 minute scrambled eggs a few times and they were without a doubt the best scrambled eggs I've ever eaten. It is time consuming and needs perfect temperature control and excellent control of the eggs in the pan. Most of the time I fail due to either impatience or just not being able to control the temperature well enough.

Karl S was my inspiration for working on this so credit to him! There are a few key points to making this work. Controlling the temperature is key. You need the heat to hit the temperature where eggs start to set and be just slightly over the cooking period. Point two is to have sticks of butter(I always use unsalted, but I don't know if it's better to use salted) cut into 1 tablespoon pieces in the fridge. When I was working on this frequently, I had a ziploc full of the pieces in the fridge. They need to be cold for this to work.

The butter is key for this. Keep stiring the eggs all the time. When it looks like the eggs are about to start setting, add one of the pieces of cold butter and keep on stiring. The butter will prevent the eggs from setting and bring the temperature of the eggs down just a little bit, which is enough for a few minutes more of cooking. Continue this process for about 30 minutes!

Patience is the third key point. The last bit happens very quickly. All of a sudden, it just starts to get thicker and thicker. The eggs are setting at this point. Keep on stiring as you have been for the last half hour! You don't need to add any more butter because at this point you are pretty much finished and the eggs are going to set whether you want them to or not. But keep stiring and you'll see the eggs turn into a custardy consistency. Take the eggs off the heat just before this happens and they'll be perfect. All you need to mix in is some salt and pepper and they are amazing. The custardy consistency makes them perfect to eat by itself or I like to spread it on some nice toasted bread or english muffins.

I don't really have a recipe, but I would say it's about 6TB of butter for 6 eggs. Sometimes it's a bit more or less. It's certainly not something you want to eat every day but when you can make it perfectly it's one of the best things you can eat. It also goes without saying as well that you should use the best eggs you can find.

May 10, 2013
BKK Brendan in Home Cooking

Favorite egg preparations for breakfast

That sounds amazing. I will definitely be trying that!

May 10, 2013
BKK Brendan in Home Cooking

Shrimps not "smooth" after boiling (or poaching) for shrimp cocktail

Every time I've had crumbly shrimp it's been because they were overcooked. Do you know the method use for the quick defrost? It's possible that is the problem.

Maybe try it with still frozen shrimp and defrost them yourself then cook them the same way and see what happens. You may also want to try broiling them with the shell on. That's usually how I cook large shrimp.

May 29, 2012
BKK Brendan in Home Cooking

Do you refrigerate fish sauce and does it need to be refrigerated?

Totally unnecessary. I use it up pretty quickly so I've never thought about it. At least in Thailand I've never seen it in a fridge. No one here does it and I've never had any issues.

Feb 28, 2012
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Why don't more Americans use induction?

I think induction cooktops can be quite useful. I think one of the issues is that many Americans don't even know they exist. I had no idea they existed until I moved overseas. When I do eventually move back, I will probably get another one. After extensive use of both, my main choice for cooking is still a gas range though.

Feb 24, 2012
BKK Brendan in Cookware

Late night arrival in Bangkok

You made a good choice. I used to live on Soi 38 and ate there frequently. It was always very good.

Servers: Eat in Secrecy, Please

Unless it's a fancy restaurant, I just don't see what the big deal is. You're in a restaurant, so I wouldn't think seeing someone eating could make you feel uncomfortable. The only somewhat legitimate concern is hygiene, but if you're really worried about that then you shouldn't ever eat out because whether you see someone eat or not their hygiene could be great or it could be horrible and you wouldn't even know.

Jan 26, 2012
BKK Brendan in Features

PF Chang's- could it actually be any good?

I used to eat there occasionally about 10 years ago. I thought it was really good. My favorites were the Ma Po Tofu and the lettuce wraps.

I stopped going for many years and went back about 1 year ago for the last time. The quality had gone downhill quite a bit, so I'm not surprised most people here dislike it so much. I was quite disappointed.

Nov 08, 2011
BKK Brendan in Chains

Thai foodies

Good call! That's a classic dish, rarely done well or authentic style outside the region in my experience.

Oct 29, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Thai foodies

To be honest, in all the time I lived in Thailand I never had a beverage that I thought was that great(compared with other countries). Not that they don't have any good drinks, but on the streets or in restaurants the best drink I've had there is a good sweet iced tea, but you can get that in many places :)

I stopped living there about 6 months ago, but I do visit frequently... My best foodie memories are all about the food. I really don't have any fond memories of Thai specific beverages.

So I would say a good Thai restaurant should be all about the food!

Oct 29, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Thai foodies

I'd like there to be a great Tom Yum Goong and Som Tam (Papaya Salad). After that, it would come down to the rice and noodle dishes for me. Fried rice, Gra Pow, Pad See Ew, etc... are all something a good Thai chef should be able to make very well.

Oct 26, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Hey, Domino's: Is It Enough to Admit Your Pizza Sucks, Without Making It Better?

Domino's international strategy is pretty smart, especially in Asia where the average person doesn't know what a good pizza is. When I lived in Thailand, Pizza Hut was popular with the locals, and in India there is Domino's and also Pizza Hut. Both seem to have the reputation of being good pizza, especially Domino's.

But when you look at the big picture, there are no great pizzas in either of those countries unless you can spend $15-20 on one pizza, and most locals can't afford it. In Thailand, in all the restaurants with good pizza you would only see foreigners (usually Americans, Europeans and Australians). In India, I haven't had a good pizza yet after 6 months so I don't know where to find one yet, but Domino's is acceptable when I'm craving some pizza.

Oct 20, 2011
BKK Brendan in Features

What Food Thing Are You Currently Craving--Like Right Now!

I currently live in India, so I'm frequently craving something non-Indian. Not that I don't like Indian food, but it's usually difficult to find good non-Indian food.

I find that the most common thing for me to crave is Mexican food, mostly some delicious tacos with fresh corn tortillas. I am craving that right now and basically that's a permanent craving for me.

Also, some good crab or oysters are common ones for me. Definitely craving both of those right now.

Oct 11, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Aspartame? Does anyone else enjoy it?

I wouldn't say I reject anecdotal evidence immediately. I think if there's enough anecdotal evidence it warrants a more scientific study. Anecdotal evidence can be useful, but it is inherently flawed because the method for coming to a conclusion is flawed. For example, if someone who drinks Diet Coke daily gets cancer, you can't immediately draw a conclusion that it was because of the Diet Coke. If several people who drink Diet Coke daily get cancer, it suggests that we may need to do proper studies to see if there is a correlation between Diet Coke (or some ingredient in Diet Coke e.g. aspartame) and cancer.

These studies have been done multiple times in multiple countries and they always come up negative or inconclusive. It doesn't mean that aspartame can't cause cancer, it just means there's no proof out there yet.

My own anecdotal evidence supports that there is no connection between aspartame and health problems. I regularly drink Diet Coke, and so do many people in my circle of family and friends. None of them have any health problems that would likely be attributed to their Diet Coke drinking.

So, I don't dismiss anecdotal evidence. I just trust the scientific method more.

Sep 20, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Aspartame? Does anyone else enjoy it?

beau10, I see people saying this all the time. I've looked into it and I've found not one bit of scientific proof that aspartame is bad for you in reasonable quantities. I found one that showed a rat developed cancer from aspartame. The problem with that study is that the rat had the human equivalent of over 2,000 cans of diet coke per day.

The only sites I see saying aspartame is a poison are showing no real scientific evidence and are mostly conspiracy websites. Now, I don't reject a theory just because it's a conspiracy theory, but I would like some genuine science to back it up.

Sep 19, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

What do *you* use your mortar and pestle for?

The main thing I use one for is guacamole, but I also use it for grinding peppercorns. Very nice for a pepper crusted fish.

Jul 19, 2011
BKK Brendan in Cookware

McD's, BK, KFC, and Taco Bell: Worst Fast Food in America

Giving Subway anything higher than a 1 is very disappointing. Worst fast food in the country for sure. Every sandwich tastes exactly the same and that taste is far from decent.

Jul 15, 2011
BKK Brendan in Features

Your Favorite Weight Loss Tricks and Recipes

I've lost 15 pounds in the last 3 weeks and I've only really made two changes in my diet. The first is that I don't drink anything with calories. I drink nothing but water. No diet drinks either.

The second is that I always eat something first thing in the morning. I'm very lazy when I wake up during the week and would always wait until lunch to eat something. Now I eat something very quick and easy during the work week for breakfast, like one of those oat based breakfast bars.

I always ate reasonably healthy, but could never lose weight. Once I made those two changes I started losing weight very quickly.

Jun 15, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Food foreigners take back home when they visit America.

I'll remember the sour candies on my next trip. I always have to bring Rice Krispie Treats back to Thailand with me. Everyone loves them.

Jun 15, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Pizza and utensils

Can I please get the name of that restaurant beevod? I will go there with a big party of people and we will each order a pizza and eat with utensils until they stop us. Then I will bring a new group of friends(who would turn down free pizza?) to do the same thing until that restaurant realizes how stupid they are.

May 21, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

What is your "perfect breakfast"? [moved from Home Cooking]

A perfect breakfast for me would be huevos rancheros, diced and sauteed potatoes(with just salt and pepper), and fresh squeezed orange juice.

May 11, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Which recipes (and ingredients) are, in your opinion, over hyped?

That's interesting. I had the opposite experience when I grew it in a garden. I didn't mind cilantro, but I was never very impressed with it until I grew some. I absolutely loved it and from that time on, it's been my favorite herb.

Apr 25, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Trying a grape... taboo?

I think most grocery stores expect this to happen and accept it as a tiny cost of doing business. It's really a non-issue in my opinion. The easy solution is for a store to put up a sign if they don't want anyone sampling the grapes. If someone samples a grape even though there is a sign saying not to, then that's a different story. At that point, the management of the store can decide whether it's worth it to confront the grape thief or not.

Apr 19, 2011
BKK Brendan in Not About Food

My Hamburgers never work, tips?

You haven't indicated whether you do this or not, but the one mistake that will quickly ruin a hamburger in my experience is to press it down while it's cooking on the grill. It's been mentioned a few times in this thread, but I think it's worth stressing again.

You may also want to consider buying an instant read thermometer to avoid over cooking the burgers. I know there are other ways to check if it's ready or not, but a good thermometer is a reliable way to check.

Apr 19, 2011
BKK Brendan in Home Cooking

Favorite places you've lived outside the USA?

I lived in Thailand for 2 years, ending about a month ago. I love the food scene in Bangkok. Everywhere you go in the city there is someone cooking food on the streets and sidewalks and it is often delicious and extremely cheap. Thai food has a great variety of flavors and that comes through on the street food scene or the small restaurants around town.

I live in India now and the food here is different but can be equally delicious. There are many small family owned restaurants as you go down the streets and so far most of them I've visited have been quite good. This is one of the places where I've enjoyed the vegetarian food more than the non-veg food. Here, I eat probably 90% vegetarian food and I never feel like I'm missing anything. In most other countries I eat a vegetarian dish maybe 1 out of every 3 or 4 dishes.

The place I would probably enjoy the most from a food perspective is Japan. Been there a few times but never lived there.

Apr 15, 2011
BKK Brendan in General Topics

Singapore and Thailand

Which city in Thailand are you going to visit? Bangkok?