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Shaw Oliver's Profile

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How many people buy supermarket chicken and meat?

Labels are meant to deceive the customer. It is as simple as that. They are a marketing ploy. Unless you see the conditions in which they are raised, you don't know what you're buying.

Free range chicken means nothing more than chickens that are allowed access to the outdoors. That means there can be one tiny door on one end of a huge chicken house and that door leads to a tiny patch of grass. Chances are that the majority of chickens never even know what a door is or what is out there. I would call that "abysmal conditions." So, you have to know what labels mean. It is not always a good thing to pay an extra $1 or $2 per pound. It may make you feel better, but that is blindly ignoring the facts and the chicken companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in General Topics

Apricot Jam Making Question

You mean simple syrup?

I would defrost and remove the apricots from the syrup before starting the recipe. I'm not sure if that's exactly what you're asking (?).

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Costco Kirkland hard anodized cookware

Huh? How do you spend a 2nd?

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Newbie has a grill pan

Never use aluminum foil on a grill, indoor or outdoor, despite what you may have seen other people do or recent Reynolds Wrap commercials. Proper cleaning and use of your grill is far better than foil.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

How to fry slices of eggplant?

I've never had a bitter eggplant.

Mario Batali agrees with me.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

In need of rice cooker introduction

You should know that the words "inexpensive" and "rice cooker" means you should be using a standard pot on the stove. It is clearly not worth spending $30 on a rice cooker... that is only worth $30. They do NOT perform well. Don't buy one. Measure out liquid (water) measure out rice, and cook it according to the directions. If you can boil water, you can cook rice. Literally.

If you're really serious about rice, cook it and eat it often, including different kinds of rice (brown vs. white on occasion) look at spending $130+ on a cooker with fuzzy logic. This an an appliance where you absolutely get what you pay for. The more expensive models often make better rice than the standard pot-on-stove method but you need to eat a lot of rice to justify the purchase.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

How to fry slices of eggplant?

"A bake pan with parchment paper and a can of canola oil spray did a fine job of browning the eggplant slices."

Off subject, but why not grill the eggplant if you cooking on a grill?

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Does anyone know if it's okay to freeze whole taro leaves?

I'm not sure what choice you have aside from making the dish early and then freezing the whole thing. Seems to me that taro leaves might turn a bit mushy when frozen. You could always sub banana leaves instead (?).

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in General Topics

How to fry slices of eggplant?

Crisp = hot oil, lack of water in the product, caramelization. I can't instruct better than a cookbook can, but remember those 3 things when you're trying to fry something.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Looking to replace my gas bbq-suggestions under $600 ?

I agree with you except for a couple of points.

"But fuel's more expensive..."

I hear it ALL the time and it just isn't true. I can buy a 22 lb bag of Wicked Good charcoal (a far cry from the dog crap that is Kingsford) for $18. I can also buy a tank of propane for about $18 (fluctuates +/- a dollar depending on fuel cost at the time). I can easily make that bag of charcoal last as long or even longer than my can of propane because I can re-use 40-50% of my charcoal from the previous grilling.

"...you can't just turn a knob to reduce the heat while you're grilling."

Yes you can. It's called a vent.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

White fish is BLAND. What to do?

I don't think anyone can help you here honestly. People are going to keep spewing recipes that they think are great, but they won't help you. If you think white fish in general is bland and simply absorbs flavors that are around them, then a recipe won't change your mind.

Frankly, I tend to agree with you. Fish in general is a very mild protein, and does not have a distinguishing flavor aside from being mildly fishy. This is evident in the stories of sushi restaurants swapping out low end Asian catfish for higher priced fish in a (very successful) effort to fool customers and make a higher profit.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Difference between a salsa, a salad dressing and a sauce.

Americans have taken the word salsa and made it something that is our own. It is just what you said: fashionable. People often add fruit to "salsas" in order to change things up a bit and to use up ingredients that would otherwise rot and wither away. I think we have used the word salsa so frequently that it has lost its original meaning here in the US. The kind of salsa that you're talking about (say some fresh onion, tomato, and peach) is really more of a pico de gallo in terms of preparation. These are also known as salsa fresca.

The way things are prepared also has an impact. If we were to leave the peaches and tomatoes in large slices, arrange them on a plate and sprinkle with onion and chile, then you might have what Americans called a salad.

I disagree that because you add oil and acid (vinegar, lemon, etc.) to a "salsa" that it turns it into a salad dressing though.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in General Topics

Difference between a salsa, a salad dressing and a sauce.

Salsa is not an English word, it is Spanish. Salsa = sauce. You should also know that traditionally, Latinos do not enjoy their salsa with chips and beer while watching football. It would the the equivalent of us eating ketchup on chips. Sauce is the English equivalent of salsa.

A salad dressing, as you stated goes on a salad. I would not put a bechamel sauce or a Mexican-style salsa on a salad and call it salad dressing. Salad dressings tend to be an emulsion of oil and vinegar at the most basic level.

Sauce in the Western European or American sense that it is something that is poured over a finished dish (or used under a finished dish), and can be a large variety of things. Bechamel sauce like I mentioned above, is one. Hollandaise is another kind of sauce (but is based on bearnaise). One can easily see that hollandaise is not even remotely equivalent to Mexican style salsa, or oil and vinegar, so it isn't just semantics.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in General Topics

Does choice, Angus or select make any difference on a chuck roast that your going to braise anyway?

I would. And you're right, I mis-read the part about only select vs. CAB.

But... I don't want to sound too high and mighty, but in the past I didn't shop at stores that only offered select or CAB and nothing else, so the option doesn't really apply. Here in the south that means shopping at Whole Foods or Publix, not Kroger or Walmart.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Does choice, Angus or select make any difference on a chuck roast that your going to braise anyway?

"Angus" is a breed of cow. Many cows sold as regular beef are actually Angus as well. Certified Angus is a marketing tool. In other words a brand. I've often found zero difference in Certified Angus brand versus choice aside from the price difference and thus I NEVER buy Certified Angus brand. I would buy choice.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Dinner Party Suggestions

Pork loin is always easy and takes to flavors well. That's pork loin. Not pork tenderloin. It can be grilled or roasted depending on your set up and it tends to be rather cheap too. For extra flavor and a bit of extra moisture wrap it in bacon or pancetta and secure it with string. You can often find whole pork loin in vacuum packs at major grocery stores or you can ask the butchers behind the counter to cut you a specific size, assuming you go to a good grocery store.

Aug 04, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

What To Do With Leftover Bun (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad)

Stir them up with some eggs, add some extra vegetables if needed and you have a frittata kind of thing.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Please share your favorite camping recipes

Tossing a steak directly on the coals is always a quick, easy, and entertaining way to cook dinner. Bring tongs... There is lots of instruction out there on the interwebs.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Pocket/Hand Pie Mold

Some of us are just smarter, obviously. ;-)

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Grill Assembly - Trust Home Depot or Do It Myself?

"Was that comment in reference to mine about the chipping porcelain?" Yes. I wasn't arguing by any means, just supporting the use of Weber by saying that if something breaks after years of use, you can fix it.

And you're right, they aren't cheap, but it is possible to get an identical replacement part when/if necessary.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Grill Assembly - Trust Home Depot or Do It Myself?

This one of the BIGGEST reasons I promote Weber grills though. When something breaks you can easily replace it. As a brand, I find that Weber still produces a quality product and quality replacement products that are available nearly everywhere. If you're interested in a quality product and you're interested in keepingit for a while I don't think anyone should buy anything else.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

between lawrenceville and union city.

Still a large number of restaurants - you're talking about all of downtown Atlanta area unless you specifically want to stay around Cheshire Bridge for some reason but if you're continuing on to Union City there's no reason for sticking with one specific area. A more specific price range? How big of a group are you?

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Atlanta

Looking to replace my gas bbq-suggestions under $600 ?

As with most things you get what you pay for. If you want features you have to pay for them or lose out on something else - like quality. For me, I'd rather pay for quality and get what you want even if it costs you $200 more. If you go cheap on the grill you'll end up buying two $600 grills over the period of 15-20 years ($1200) instead of paying for 1 great one at a cost of $800-$1000. It all depends on how you want to spend your money and what features you really think are useful and important.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Costco Kirkland hard anodized cookware

What?! You think "18/10 hard anodized non-stick aluminum cookware with titanium bonding" is just a bunch of nonsense buzzwords to try to get you to buy something? Nooooo...!

Ha! j/k

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Too Much Leftover Smoked Brisket!

It won't make it tough, but it will probably be a bit drier when you've defrosted it for the next use. Just don't eat it plain on a sandwich: go with the sloppy joe type of method where it is mixed into a sauce of some sort.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

How long is too long for this marinade?

It will certainly have a significant texture change but like you said, you'll be fine eating it. The chicken will be pretty tender - probably too tender so be careful/gentle cooking it on the grill. America's Test Kitchen just did a show on tandoor cooking and using yogurt on meats. They talked with a local Indian restaurant who instead of marinating in yogurt, simply dipped the meat in yogurt immediately before cooking. The result was good flavor but not mushy chicken. In other words, the 1 hour marinade time sounds like about the right balance of time and flavor without the mushy meat. Hope it turns out well, it should be very flavorful!

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking

Costco Kirkland hard anodized cookware

Stainless steel will last a long, long, long time not matter what brand it is, assuming the handles don't fall off or something similar, and it is always dishwasher safe. Very versatile; can handle high heat and a good bit of abuse. Those are the advantages of stainless.

Non-stick will wear out very quickly by comparison. It is simply not going to last for decades no matter how many big fancy "titanium bonding" words they throw into the title. With every day use you might get 5 years out of it until you've realized the non stick coating has been slowly worn away. Very often it is not dishwasher safe (anodized aluminum isn't dishwasher safe either) and needs special tools to keep the surface in good condition. I would never buy a set of non-stick cookware.

I buy one cheapish non-stick pan from Walmart or Bed, Bath & Beyond every 4 or 5 years for delicate fish or delicate egg dishes. It's costs me about $20 or $25. Otherwise it's carbon steel and stainless for all my cooking needs.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Grill Assembly - Trust Home Depot or Do It Myself?

Do it yourself - no question.

You'll feel better about the end result, save cash, and when it comes time to clean it or replace parts you'll know how each piece fits together.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Pocket/Hand Pie Mold

Looks like someone found a way to make a million dollars by selling $10 plastic gadgets from China that aren't even dishwasher safe.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Cookware

Too Much Leftover Smoked Brisket!

Why not freeze it like alkapal said? That way you're not rushed to eat 6 pounds of beef before it goes bad.

Aug 03, 2010
Shaw Oliver in Home Cooking
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