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Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, and environs - restaurant recs

Thanks for the recs. I have been and am back now. I did go to Rusty Bellies, and enjoyed it. I saw Captain Jack's from the river, but did not stop there. Next time. I was very happy with my meals in Tarpon Springs, both Greek and not-entirely-Greek.

Jul 17, 2014
MelMM in Florida

Whole rabbit

There is a link I gave above, for a rabbit that is poached in oil with spices then finished on the grill. I'll repeat the link here:
http://leitesculinaria.com/73052/reci...

This is by far the best rabbit recipe I've ever had, and I've had it a lot of ways.

Jul 11, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Brunch, Soups

Funny, because that recipe for grits almost put me off the whole book. I just can't imagine using instant grits. I don't even use "quick" grits, which I think is what you are calling "regular". Stone ground only here, which do take a good hour to cook, but then, I can be extremely traditional about some things. My great-grandfather had a gristmill in Mississippi and died there in an explosion.

Jul 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? July 2014 edition!

I agree with LlM here. Suspend disbelief and give it a shot. I can't speak for the new book, but I have the ice cream book and the recipes come out just great.

Jul 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Pasta, Fish

I would think most of the wild-caught salmon here in the East has been frozen.

BTW, Atlantic farmed salmon in the US is not necessarily safe either. It depends upon the farming method and what the fish are fed. If the fish spend any time in fresh water, they are prone to parasites, which is why the wild ones are not safe. Also, if they are feed a food that contains other fish, they can get parasites from the food.

In the EU, there are salmon being farmed off Scotland and Norway that are safe to eat raw. But all salmon in the US should be frozen.

And yes, you are right, the farmed salmon are fattier.

Jul 09, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
3

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

I'm definitely interested in eating Burmese food. I know about Burma Superstar... are there any that are better than that?

Jul 08, 2014
MelMM in San Francisco Bay Area

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Pasta, Fish

I hope if you eat wild salmon rare, it has been frozen first. I did a lot of research on this recently, and wild caught (Pacific) salmon can be assumed to be infected with anisakis simplex (a roundworm) and also can transmit tapeworms to humans. It is not even legal for a restaurant to serve raw salmon in the US that has not been frozen. Some people are under the mistaken belief that wild-caught is "safer" than farmed, but where parasites are concerned, the opposite is true.

Jul 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

One Dinner in SF - Where and Why?

I'm interested in this post because I will be heading to SF in August. Can you recommend some places in SF proper that are "uniquely San Francisco"? Like the OP, price not a factor (can go cheap or fine dining), but looking for something within the city.

Jul 01, 2014
MelMM in San Francisco Bay Area

Why Are We Importing Our Own Fish?

Glad you posted this. I caught part of it on air today, and it was a good interview.

Jul 01, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

cooking forums moving to facebook??

I don't know which you are talking about, but I do participate in some Facebook cooking groups. There's a Moroccan cooking group based on Paula Wolfert's books, the Wok Wednesday group cooking through Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, and Leite's Culinaria What's for Dinner, just to name a few. All excellent groups. There are more, about cookbooks and other things. I really enjoy the Facebook groups I am in. They are similar to participating in the COTM here on the CH Home Cooking board. But the CH boards have been around quite a bit longer (in internet years) than the Facebook groups, so only time will tell about the longevity of such groups.

Jul 01, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #3 - Will you join me?

All I can say is it tasted better than it looked! The flavors were well developed.

Jul 01, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #3 - Will you join me?

Well, they might not appeal to everyone. First there's the vegan part. I'm always happy with a vegan meal. Then there's the ingredients. Being a Southerner, I have a taste for okra and mustard greens. And I like a lot of spice, which this food has. Still, I have to think that if anyone could make mustard greens palatable to a larger audience, it would be this guy.

Stay tuned, I intend to cook some more out of this book.

Jul 01, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #3 - Will you join me?

AFRO-VEGAN, by Bryant Terry

I got this a few months ago, but haven't had a chance to cook anything. Looking through it, it's one of those books where I want to make everything. I finally took the time to make a meal from it tonight.

Tofu Curry with Mustard Greens - I had a ton of mustard greens from a local farm, and was looking for something new and interesting to do with them. I found this recipe, and then decided to cook my whole meal from the book. Tofu is tossed with oil and salt and baked. It gets crisp, as if it were fried, and stands up well to being put in a stew. For the stew itself, mustard seeds get popped in hot oil in a large sauté pan, then cooked with onion, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Cumin and cardamom, that have been toasted and ground in a mortar, get mixed in, along with some garlic powder, ground ginger (grated from dried whole roots in my case), and black pepper. Peanut butter and tomatoes go in, with some jalapeño, and then some vegetable broth and a bunch of mustard greens. That simmers, then the baked tofu goes in, and it simmers some more. This dish made the kitchen smell fantastic, and the stew itself was just delicious. Since I get a lot of mustard greens around here (hey, I live in the South), this will be a definite repeat.

Blackened Okra - the recipe is for blackened okra with red rice, but I just made the okra. It starts with a blackening seasoning, which involves toasting and grinding spices (a theme of this book). He calls for blanching the okra, a step I skipped. The okra is then tossed with oil and the blackening seasoning, put on skewers, and then grilled. I roast or grill okra quite a bit, so this wasn't anything new for me - it's one of my favorite ways to have okra. The blackening seasoning was a new twist, and it went well. Next time I might go to the trouble of blanching it to see if it makes a difference.

Spicy Mustard Greens - he calls this a "green harissa", and that is not a bad description. Blanched mustard greens are blended with green chiles, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and other spices that have been - you guessed it - toasted and ground. There's also some garlic and herbs in there, as well as lemon and vinegar. This is some good stuff! Reminds me a bit of the Zhoug from Jerusalem, but even more complex. It's definitely spicy. I mixed some of this with yogurt to make a dip for the blackened okra (thus making my meal non-vegan, oh well). I can see putting this on my morning eggs, on rice, and so on. Love it!

Three recipes, three winners from this book. It's a keeper.

Jun 30, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, and environs - restaurant recs

Thanks for all the recommendations!

Jun 30, 2014
MelMM in Florida

Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, and environs - restaurant recs

I'm going to be spending a long weekend in this area over the 4th of July. We will be staying in Tarpon Springs, but are willing and able to go to nearby areas for a good meal. There are lots of threads here about the Greek places in Tarpon Springs, and we will certainly be having a couple meals at those places. But I'm checking this general area out as a possible retirement locale, so I'd like a broader view of what's available in the area. I'd love to hear recommendations for for restaurants (including breakfast!) in the area, and shops to check out as well. Two adults, adventurous eaters, all cuisines welcome, all prices welcome, great seafood a huge plus.

Jun 29, 2014
MelMM in Florida

Do you "finish" salmon with olive oil?

Salt is found all over the earth, not just in the sea.

Jun 28, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

June 2014 COTM - My Paris Kitchen: Main Courses (Plats)

I have a very sensitive nose, and yes, I can smell it in most Rieslings, even very young. To me, they all have it to some degree, but in some it is almost undectectable, and in others, quite pronounced.

Jun 27, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

Well, I personally think that tomatoes do not belong in guacamole, but that's another issue.

I used to be a breakfast regular at a place that had "sliced tomatoes" on the breakfast menu as a side. But there was another regular who grew tomatoes (professionally) and would bring in great tomatoes and share them with the other regulars.

The restaurant didn't mind at all, but if they were bothered, it would not have been unreasonable for them to frown on the practice, or ban it outright. They just happened to be cool.

Jun 25, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

January 2011 Cookbook of the Month: STIR-FRYING TO THE SKY'S EDGE

Stir-Fried Hoisin Pork with Peppers, p. 94

Hard to believe I hadn't made this one yet! This was this week's Wok Wednesday dish. The prep has already been well-described.

This dish is a little different from other stir-fries because the sauce ingredients are all in the marinade. This made everything very simple when it came time to wok, and I didn't have the long line of prep bowls sitting next to me. I did feel that keeping the meat spread out in the wok was really important here, or it could have been too saucy (for my taste).

The vinegar finish is a really nice touch, that adds some acid to balance out the sweetness of the hoisin sauce. The dish has a really robust flavor, without actually being spicy. A real crowd-pleaser.

Jun 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

I should add that there are advocacy groups out there with educational and certification programs for the food service industry, including this one:
https://www.gluten.net/programs/indus...

Celiacs would definitely want to know about the waffle-maker being used for both regular and gluten-free waffles, unless you have a way of thoroughly cleaning it between batches.

Jun 24, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

You are obligated to say the creamed spinach has wheat flour in it if the customer has told the server that they must eat gluten-free. If they haven't, well then it's your choice, but it's not much different that telling someone who has ordered a seemingly meatless dish, but hasn't said that they are vegetarian, that there is some fish sauce or chicken broth in it. They might be an omnivore who just wants a relatively meatless meal, or maybe they really are a vegetarian... I guess it's best to ask.

I always tell the server I must eat gluten-free, and then ask for his or her suggestions as to what to order. Or, if they aren't able to point me to the safe dishes, I will list a few that I think are likely to be gluten-free and which appeal to me, and have them check with the kitchen. Anyone with celiac disease is going to do this. What we shouldn't have to do, is say "I have celiac disease" - that's a bit too personal for some situations. But if the diner says he or she "needs to" or "must" or "has to" eat gluten-free, that should be a clue to the staff to take it seriously.

Jun 24, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month July 2014

The pesto is 80g sun-dried tomatoes, softened in hot water for 20 minutes, then blended in a food processor (I think I used a mini processor or a stick blender) along with a clove of garlic, 200 ml olive oil, and a teaspoon of capers (I think I went pretty heavy on these). When I made it, I used sundried tomatoes packed in oil, and less olive oil.

Jun 22, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

The problem with that idea is that the way I cook is pretty far removed from the way most Americans cook. I'm very old-school in my cooking, so a cake recipe will involve whipping egg whites separately, may be made with no chemical leavener, etc. I don't do quick and easy. I am always getting asked for recipes, but when the asker actually sees them, they are a lot less interested in making the dish, because it is too much work. Plus, most people looking for gluten-free cookbooks are looking for gluten-free versions of what they used to eat, especially baked goods, and especially sweet baked goods. Things I don't really care to make that often. I never even liked muffins!

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

I have tried the Cup4Cup flours, but was not impressed. I've been cooking gluten-free for over 13 years now, so at this point, I can do it a lot better than the so-called experts, most have whom have a lot less experience.

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

Not nuts about the pretzels, but there are some very good crackers out there. In my family, the non-celiacs have all become addicted to Mary's Gone Crackers, and now prefer them to the gluten-filled crackers. Many of my co-workers also decided they like these better and now eat them, even though they don't need to. I make almost all my food from scratch, so I don't really buy that many of the products out there. Crackers and pasta are about the only specialty products I buy. Also there was a wonderful person at work who would make all the baked goods for office parties, and she made them all gluten-free, for my sake. She relied heavily on the mixes that are out there, and became a bit of an expert on which ones were the best. There are some good ones these days. I guess I can thank the hipsters for that. Plus many local pizza places offering a gluten-free pizza - she would order one specially for me at office pizza parties (I would request pineapple, jalapeño and anchovy, to keep the non-celiacs away). I don't go out for pizza on my own, but in the work environment, it was very nice to be able to get a pizza and fit in with the group.

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month July 2014

Well, first, I would say be careful with the titles, because there are some books with different titles between US and UK editions, and I think there's one book that is a couple previous books combined. I think you could accidentally by the same book twice with different names on it. So that said, I THINK I have his complete body of work.

I'm not sure I can pick a favorite book. "Wild Garlic, Gooseberries... and Me" is a true vegetable nerd's cookbook, far more so than Ottolenghi's, IMHO. There is a recipe for eggplant wrapped around haloumi, arugula, and sun-dried tomato pesto that I've made again and again. I also love "Cafe Paradiso Seasons". There is a recipe in there for a portobello mushroom stuffed with blue cheese and sage that is the vegetarian equivalent of a rib-eye. "For the Love of Food" is probably the most accessible for the home cook, but I haven't cooked as much out of it. Not sure why. Just glanced through it and immediately found something to make for tonight's dinner: a cornmeal crepe filled with zucchini, pine nuts and roasted onions, with a gold tomato and caper salsa. That sounds pretty good to me!

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

Actually, you have a point. It is very difficult to eat food prepared in someone else's home kitchen. There are little things that the cook may not be aware of. For example, I've had a well-intentioned relative make a pot of sauce for pasta (to be eaten by everyone), and separate pots of gluten-free pasta and regular pasta. So far so good, but then they use the same spoon to stir both pastas and the sauce. They are trying, but just don't get it, and it makes for a pretty awkward situation. Or maybe there will be crumbs everywhere in the kitchen from slicing bread. Or there will be bread crumbs in the butter, or mustard or mayo, where people have spread it on bread and then dipped the knife back into the condiment.

I would get sick every single year when I went to visit my mother. She really tried, but didn't get it. Oh, and then there are the other relatives that don't need to eat gluten-free, but decide the gluten-free version of the gumbo is actually better, and are helping themselves to it, even though there was only enough made to serve the two of us who do need to eat that way.

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month July 2014

I ADORE the Dennis Cotter books. They are not easy weeknight recipes, in general, but they are full of creative and absolutely stunning vegetarian food.

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

It's not an extreme example at all. It's a situation I have dealt with numerous times. And then, there is the business dinner or lunch - not uncommon at all in my job, which was in consulting. I might be expected to take a client to dinner, or they might want to take me to dinner. If I'm doing the taking, not a problem, but when they are, I may have no say at all in the restaurant, reservations made by a secretary who has no idea of my restrictions. I might not even know I'm being taken to dinner until the end of the day, and reservations have already been made. My problem is to eat wherever I'm taken without drawing unnecessary attention to my medical condition. This is NOT an unusual situation. It could occur on a weekly basis. I need waiters to take me seriously when I say "I need to eat gluten-free". It is not their business to second-guess me.

Jun 20, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

21 Things chefs wish they could tell you.....

Fashion tips on how to look non-hipster would be welcome! Not that I do, I just wouldn't want to accidentally look like one.

Jun 19, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News