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Grant Achatz Names MSG as a Top-3 Kitchen Staple

The onus of proof is on him who asserts the positive.

In other words nobody is obligated to chase an arbitrary claim with an eternity of studies and infinite samples, all the way to the end of the bell curve, trying to prove a negative (that there are no "outliers").

If one asserts X (that MSG causes headaches or whatever else the claim may be), the burden is on him to demonstrate it and on nobody else to disprove it.

Dec 27, 2013
Soul Vole in Food Media & News

What to do with dry mashed black bean?

I would add some liquid -- whether it's water or chicken broth or whatever -- until they're soupy again, and then cook them down to your desired consistency. Just in case there are still some undercooked bean starches in there.

I often deliberately cook refried beans down until they're way too dry. This is to give them some roastiness. You can't get that when they're wet, so I cook them down over fairly high heat until they're a dry mound of bean mass. There's often lard in there so to an extent they're frying. Then when I have that roastiness I bring them back to the consistency I want with broth or water.

Dec 24, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

Korean Restaurants in the Zona Rosa, Mexico City

It's "Asian Bay" and there's nothing mediocre about it: https://es.foursquare.com/asianbay/photos

See also http://goodfoodmexicocity.blogspot.mx...

Dec 20, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

Ideas for an elegant but simple vegetarian dinner -plenty of catches...

I agree. It's a perennial argument amongst Mexicans whether the chile should be capeado (battered and fried) or not. One argument against is that the green color of the chile is part of the green, white, and red of the dish -- the colors of the Mexican flag.

Dec 18, 2013
Soul Vole in Vegetarian & Vegan

Ideas for an elegant but simple vegetarian dinner -plenty of catches...

You could skip the battering and frying. That's actually the more common way that chiles en nogada are prepared (at least in my experience), and then you could do nearly everything ahead of time. I'd just wait and blend the nogada shortly before serving because it should be well-aerated. It has a texture similar to melted ice cream.

And since chiles en nogada are served at room tempereature or even chilled, if you skip the frying there's no cooking or reheating to be done before serving.

Maybe textured soy in lieu of the ground meat? I bet that would be nearly indistinguishable from regular picadillo.

Dec 18, 2013
Soul Vole in Vegetarian & Vegan
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48 hours of street food in Mexico City – please help!

Well, this isn't a suggestion I would normally make but it might be up your alley -- Tepito. Anthony Bourdain is in town right now and apparently had breakfast and visited a cantina there.

Tepito is famous for its enormous tianguis (street markets) with something like 10,000 vendors. Tepito itself and the tianguis date back to the Aztecs. It's also famous as a "barrio bravo", a very rough neighborhood with a lot of crime. A number of famous Mexican boxers and wrestlers came out of Tepito.

You wouldn't want to go there at night, only during the day when there are crowds of shoppers. Wear plain clothes and no jewelry, leave wallets and purses behind, carry just enough cash as you need, and watch out for pickpockets.

If you go, go at your own risk. But it is quite a fascinating neighborhood. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tepito

Dec 18, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

Grant Achatz Names MSG as a Top-3 Kitchen Staple

> is it worse for public welfare if those who think MSG is safe are wrong or those who think MSG is harmful are wrong?

This amounts to saying that if anyone, any sizeable group, thinks that something is harmful, harmful for whatever reason, no matter how unconfirmed and in spite of decades of scientific research, then maligning that thing is good for the public welfare, and pointing out the actual facts somehow runs contrary to the public welfare.

It's kind of like the Ricky Gervais line, "Just because you're offended doesn't mean you're right."

Dec 18, 2013
Soul Vole in Food Media & News
3

Grant Achatz Names MSG as a Top-3 Kitchen Staple

What about salt? There's no shortage of salt on any grocery store shelf in cheap products.

What if we were to sub that in:

"It was almost like they [Grant Achatz] were elevating salt to a real 'specialty product' status, instead of mentioning that [it] is in almost every cheap, trashy, ingredient mix on the market. Funny."

By that line of reasoning nobody should ever use salt in their cooking.

Dec 15, 2013
Soul Vole in Food Media & News

QUESTION RE ANCHO CHILI PEPPERS

It depends on how much you're making of course. And I would advise using a blend of chiles. Just anchos would be one-note in a dish where you really want a chord. Have a look at this recipe:

http://www.homesicktexan.com/2009/02/...

Dec 14, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

Grant Achatz Names MSG as a Top-3 Kitchen Staple

Alongside salt and black pepper.

http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_det...

Dec 14, 2013
Soul Vole in Food Media & News

Mexico City report - mostly in Polanco

I've heard nothing but universal praise for The Red Tree House but make your reservations early. I tried to get a room for a friend there and they were booked solid for, I don't remember, many many weeks.

Agreed on Hotel Roosevelt -- decent hotel, decent rates. I stayed there for two or three months when I moved to Mexico City. Just try to get a room on the Popocatépetl side in the back. Av. Yucatán and Insurgentes are quite noisy. There's a nice little Oaxacan restaurant right by there, La Casa Del Mole Negro.

Reports from Biko seem to be highly polar. A while back the Mexican actress Ana De La Reguera brutally slammed them on Twitter.

Dec 12, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

Traditional Food in Mexico City

Kind of a difficult question to answer because there are so many. A few that come to mind:

Fonda Margarita - Breakfast only and very famous for theirs.

Tacos Hola (AKA El Güero) - A classic for tacos de guisado in Condesa.

For pozole there's La Casa de Toño (various locations), also good quesadillas. Or Pozolería Teoixtla in Roma.

As came up on another thread recently there's a lot of street food around Metro Chilpancingo, and on Avenida Chilpancingo you'll find a place that does good roasted chicken, Rosticería San Juan, among many other options.

La Flor de Lis in Condesa for tamales.

Have you been to Tosadas Coyoacán?

Dec 08, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

Anybody watch Foodwishes/Chef John?

Foodwishes is a recent favorite of mine. I'm systematically working my way back through the hundreds of video recipes and I've learned quite a bit. It's been a good exercise in learning about dishes I wouldn't normally consider, many now bookmarked. He clearly knows cooking and as you say it's all quite approachable. It's also kind of interesting seeing how he found his "voice", watching a talent develop, watching (in reverse) how he came up with his template and tone. The early videos are very different from what he does now, yet you see the same personality behind them.

Dec 05, 2013
Soul Vole in Food Media & News

48 hours of street food in Mexico City – please help!

I haven't been to Los Cocuyos myself but it sounds like an excellent choice for you. Lots of praise for their tripa on Foursquare and it looks like they also have ojo and sesos.

When you're at Metro Chilpancingo you might look for a tamal vendor in front of La Espiga that's a favorite of Roberto Santibañez: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/tra.... I don't know what her hours are. I've looked for her a couple times but she wasn't there.

Buen provecho!

Dec 04, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

48 hours of street food in Mexico City – please help!

Ooh, I'll have to try that carnitas place. And indeed there's a lot of street food in that area around Metro Chilpancingo. There are vendors at the intersection of Insurgentes and Baja California. One block west there's Av. Chilpancingo, lots of street food along there. Or go one block up to Av. Tlaxcala, or go down a block to Quintana Roo. Dozens of street food vendors within about a one block radius of that metro stop.

Dec 03, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

48 hours of street food in Mexico City – please help!

Oh and for Saturday night bar scene I'd suggest you start at the top of Tamaulipas in Condesa and work your way down until something catches your eye. There's also Av. Michoacán and Nuevo León.

Or better, Zona Rosa. Plenty of rowdy nightlife there.

Dec 03, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

48 hours of street food in Mexico City – please help!

Well you've clearly done some research. A few thoughts:

* El Borrego Viudo - Popular place for sure and the tacos are good, but not so special that I'd go out of my way.
* Mercado San Juan is in Centro, just so you know.
* El Hidalguense is an excellent idea. Really good barbacoa and they have some exotic/unusual options like escamoles, gusanos de maguey, and pulque. Note that it's only a block from Mercado Medellín, so you should probably pair those up.
* Have you considered Restaurante Chon (AKA Don Chon)? If you're looking for the exotic and adventurous, you should.
* Between El Huequito and El Tizoncito for tacos al pastor (they both claim to have invented it and I assume that's what you mean by adobada), I'd definitely go to El Huequito.
* If you've never tried carnitas de nana (pig uterus), they're pretty tasty and I know El Farolito is one place that has them (various locations).

Dec 03, 2013
Soul Vole in Mexico

How Too Cook Everything.....Badly?

Veggo, yeah, I remember that Mexico City column. An embarrassment of "minor mistakes". That was about two years before the "traditional Mayan citrus salsa" that left me wondering whether eventually he just decided to start making things up.

I wonder what Diana Kennedy would have had to say about that Mayan citrus salsa. And, given her close history with the New York Times and Craig Claiborne, I'm pretty sure Bittman could have easily gotten through to her if he'd wanted to. If at any point he had for a moment wondered the same.

Dec 01, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

How Too Cook Everything.....Badly?

Or let me put it another way. If in an article, column, blog post, whatever, you get a fact or two wrong, you issue a correction and move on. It's in no way an indictment of the author's credibility. Agreed.

What we're talking about here -- the entire column and recipe were fundamentally in error. And that sort of "minor mistake" does cast a pall over the journalist's credibility.

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

How Too Cook Everything.....Badly?

I'm not judging him by a standard of perfection. I'm judging him by the standards of basic journalistic responsibility and honesty.

Misrepresenting and ultimately redefining a traditional ethnic dish -- that is no small fuck up. "I'm sorry, I had deadline pressure that day." Bullshit.

A simple Google search would have told him what xek is and is not. The most basic of due diligence. And we're not talking about Joe Food Blogger or any everyday food writer. We're talking about Mark Bittman of the *New York Times*. If you're going to write a food column for The Grey Lady, at the very least make sure that what you're writing about actually exists.

There's more due diligence behind at least half of my comments on these forums.

Meanwhile, where did the recipe that he published, that he claims is a traditional Mayan salsa, that he claims to have had repeatedly in Mérida -- where did it come from? I'd like to know.

I once looked into this more deeply, and was unable to find any reference to any "xec" salsa that predates his column and recipe. And now this nonexistent salsa is all over the place, at least on the English speaking Internet, obscuring the actual dish.

You want to make excuses for that? Are you saying that if you were food columnist for the New York Times, you could see yourself doing the same?

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

mexican turkey, splendid table, any reviews?

I believe they're synonyms (can refer to the live bird or cooked) and also that "pavo" is more common. Maybe the preference varies by region and dish?

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

mexican turkey, splendid table, any reviews?

Thanks, and you're right, with achiote this is in essence cochinita pibil with turkey instead, which would be pavo pibil. (Just as there is pollo pibil -- same thing but with chicken.) Sorry, somehow I overlooked the achiote. So I'd say that's basically what this is, not pavo en escabeche.

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

mexican turkey, splendid table, any reviews?

In Mérida where I lived, one of the city's better Yucatecan spots was La Tradición. Their menu: http://www.latradicionmerida.com/menu.php

And the dishes with turkey:

* Sopa de lima
* Panuchos and salbutes - both topped with shredded turkey
* Pavo San Simón
* Relleno negro de pavo
* Escabeche oriental - AKA pavo en escabeche oriental
* Mechado auténtico
* Pavo en sackool

La Chaya Maya just a couple blocks from the Plaza Grande was also excellent. They only post part of their menu online but it shows they too put turkey on panuchos and salbutes and in their sopa de lima.

When I arrived in Mérida La Chaya Maya was just a humble little eatery of about eight tables with almost no decor but serving excellent food. I watched them start to blossom and, man, have they come into their own! I'm stunned. https://es.foursquare.com/v/la-chaya-maya/4c295d193492a59393e8b828/photos. Highly recommended. I'd go there before La Tradición.

Anyway, bringing this back on topic, I believe this would be their pavo en escabeche: https://es.foursquare.com/v/la-chaya-.... It's also often served in a bowl with broth and the turkey shredded, topped with onion and whatever other veg, almost a soup.

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

mexican turkey, splendid table, any reviews?

Turkey *not* common in the Yucatan? Al contrario, you'll find turkey in grocery stores year-round. It's a very common topping for panuchos and salbutes and frequently appears in sopa de lima in the Yucatan. (Not so much outside, to my eternal disappointment.) Pavo en escabeche is a typical Yucatecan dish as is pavo en relleno negro.

The ocellated turkey is native to the Yucatan and was a major animal protein for the pre-Colombian Maya.

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

Flan HELP! Can someone determine if my flan is edible!?

Nothing to worry about. Flan often has those little bubbles, sometimes considerably more and/or considerably bigger.

Have a look:

http://google.com/search?q=flan+recet...

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

mexican turkey, splendid table, any reviews?

Is this the recipe?

http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/...

There's a commenter there panning it but I think it's a question of expectations.

Patti Jinich appears to be taking Yucatecan pavo en escabeche and nudging it slightly in the Thanksgiving direction, but apart from the addition of dressing not much. If you're expecting a Norman Rockwell-style roasted turkey with some Mexican flavors, that's not what this is going to be.

Pavo en escabeche is turkey that's been marinated in sour orange juice among other things, wrapped in banana leaves, and slow-cooked, steaming in its own moisture until very tender. Same here. So it's supposed to be a bit sour (though not excessively) and, as Patti's recipe says, nearly falling off the bone. She says "Carve the turkey" but you can leave the electric carving knife in the drawer. This ain't that kind of turkey. :)

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

How Too Cook Everything.....Badly?

An anecdote about Bittman's credibility:

Shortly after I moved to Mérida in the Yucatan, Bittman published a recipe in the NY Times for xec (also spelled "xek"), a "Mayan citrus salsa". I already knew a bit about Yucatecan cuisine by that time and I'd always understood xek to be a jicama-citrus salad, not a salsa. So I asked a friend, a Yucatecan woman of Mayan descent, "What is xek?" She confirmed -- a jicama-citrus salad. "Is it ever a salsa? Is there a salsa called 'xek' too?" She looked at me strange and shook her head emphatically no.

He incidentally claims to be an aficionado of Yucatecan cuisine and in the original article claimed that he'd been served this salsa many times in Mérida. In the year and a half that I lived there I never encountered any such thing, but saw plenty of the jicama salad.

Out of curiosity, I just now did a Spanish language search for "xek receta". All recipes that came up were for the jicama salad -- no salsas. Then I did an English search. There are many results on blog posts and on recipe sites, the majority for citrus salsas like the one Bittman published, typically described as "Mayan citrus salsa".

Well done, sir, well done.

Nov 29, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking

For Safer Food, Just Add Viruses

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/nat...

First I've heard of this -- using bacteria-targeting viruses to eliminate food-borne pathogens. But will the public accept the idea of treating food with viruses?

Nov 24, 2013
Soul Vole in Food Media & News

Would you risk it?

As has been said already, cooking will kill whatever pathogens may still exist in the pork. The risk would be that if you were still ill and carrying the virus you might recontaminate it after cooking.

Nov 23, 2013
Soul Vole in General Topics
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Tamales - Is lard necessary plus...

You do realize that butter is higher in cholesterol and considerably higher in saturated fat than lard? If you consider lard unhealthful, subbing butter is going in the wrong direction.

Nov 23, 2013
Soul Vole in Home Cooking
1