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What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

Sounds like I "poked the bear" re: the currywurst issue.
My bad.
Weisswursts on the BGG tonite that will be currywurst for tomorrow.
I'll let this subject rest until 2015.Or I; just go away too.

if you want Blau und weiss, a friend in Dusseldorf texted me a pic this weekend of a $139k BMW i8 in in his street parking area that shows they are uber available. C'mon. Ya want one.

Dec 09, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

I have many a local German ex-pat friend here and I've been turned on to finding at least "acceptable" currywurstws if I can.

The local sausage haus and small restaurant/lunch spot I loved closed many years ago, but thus I sought to make a copycat.

The local German/Germaina Societies all have a different riff and I have sussed many of the secrets , but I do it from scratch without bottled ketchup, and in the end, it's not hard to do.
Again, this has been on my radar and copycat list since pre 2003.

Let me dig out the recipe on one of my recipe external HD's (yeah-like I trust the Cloud-Ha), and I have a dead tree file folder of currywurst sauce recipes I have collected over the years.
Everything I use for the sauce can usually be found at most grocers.
Just like all condiments and sauces (especially American BBQ sauce) , everyone has their own riff, but as I listed above, it's not really hard to do a baby batch. And then push and pull to make your own.

Let me report back.

What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

Using store bought Euro sourced Currywurst ketchup is cliche'.

Making currywurst sauce from scratch with Madarss yellow curry powder, mustard, sauteed onions, tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, plum jam and many other goodies is an art form.

Once you have homemadeo or soure/learn the secrets from local German Societies, it is so so hard to back.

What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

I had a client from my former haunts send me via mail nice selection ofspices as "payment" for some design work.

40 mainly non-mainstream spices including elder flowers, methi leaves and fennel seed powder.
Now forward into the fog of using them all. :-)

WFD tonite still unknown.
I've got some bratwurst I need to grill on the LW BG grill so I may turn those into sliced bratwurst in homemade currywurst sauce on crusty rolls with potato or macaroni salad
as a side.

I dunno. LOL.

What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

As a future winter "icy leayer cake of death" freezing rain ice tip LW, head over to your local dollar store and pick up a tub of Vasoline /petroleum jelly.

Take a dispoasale food servie glove or medical glove and lightly schmear the rubber door seals of your new car with teh vasoline . On all the seels both on each door and the door jam. All four doors and the trunk seal tool.

The Vasoline not only keeps your rubber seals supple, but if you are opening your doors while it raining and then overnignt it freezes, the residual water trapped in the seal will not freeze the door shut.

It's not an answer for frozen door handles, but I break out the he "car only" tub of Vasoline every fall.
I don't mind rain. I don't mind snow. Flash-freeze ice not allowing me to get into my car pisses me off though.

Dec 09, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

That is AWESOME pata_!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My local Chinese/Asian market had whole fresh squid for sale last trip as well as pig tongue and pig's liver, but I'm still sorting through some left-overs until the end of this week.

I;m also glad to see that I am not the only one that keeps whole and ground annatto seeds around and I keep achiote paste (it's base is annatto seeds) in the fridge for cochanite pibil and pollo pibil.

That stuffed cuttlefish looks soooooo good!

Dec 09, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

BRINING!? Good, bad or ugly?

I was just going to mention that as well.

Buy your poultry or even pork at a big box grocer and they come already injected with a saline solution.

For virgin pork or poutlry, I brine, but manily pork and chicken.
Turkey takes quite some time to ge the solution farather into the flesh.

You cab always split the difference and buy aa syringe injector and inject juicey goodness of choice into your turkey. I do it all the time with chickens and pork butts.

The first fork is to buy store salien injected or butcher style non-injected.
Next fork is to brine the farm bird or not.

You will need to try all three, or at least the brine and non-brined farm birds to judge for yourself.

I prefer brines, but I go light on them.

Dec 09, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

One pot cooking. Really?

No, you are not alone.

On the other side there are many many folks out there that find cooking and especially clean-up such and arduous task and abhor it so much that they will work twice as hard to avoid washing one extra dish or pot.

Years ago I dated a woman in her 30's taht so hated to use extra dises let alone wash them that she would scramble her eggs in a small plastic sandwich zip baggie and then microwave the bag on a plate and fold the cooked eggs out on the plate to eat.
She'd toss the bag out but was quite proud of herself that she saved herself the task of having to clean up a extra bowl that normally you would scramble the eggs in.

And I mean she was really proud. Now extrapolate that out to daily cooking during the week and you get the picture.

To a man or waoman with only a hammer, every problem is a nail. Hahahahaha.

People seem to go to a LOT of work to avoid doing just a LITTLE extra work is my theory.
But then I have more than one pot and dammit, I ain't skeered of using them.

Dec 09, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

Do you care to share your recipe for sweet potato chili bustling?

I love me some sweet potatoes but I fear they would break down too much in even a medium cook chili to become mush or even just blend into the chili itself and not be recogizeable even as a sweet potato. But I am a big fan of the sweet/spicy/salty balance of such an endevour.

I am very very curious.

Dec 08, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Help! gumbo came out too oily / too salty

Same here acgold7.

No salt in the granulated garlic nor onion powder I use.

I also keep dried onion flakes on hand for other dishes but not this mix.

The Trinity and fresh garlic are sssential in NOLA cooking, but the dried spices also are necessary to me.

But I'm not NOLA based.
To each their own.

Dec 07, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Help! gumbo came out too oily / too salty

I use teh NOLA recipe for Creole seasoning all the time.


It allows me to adjust salt of the mix or add salt and taste as you make it.
I make it in tiny batches but agin, it really allows you to adjust the salt.
Check it against the TC can for ingredients.

Creole Seasoning Recipe

1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/3 Cup Paprika
1/4 Cup Granulated Garlic
4 Tbsp Onion Powder
1/3 Cup Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp White Pepper
2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp Dried Basil
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight jar or plastic container.

Makes about 10 oz.

And acgold7's comments are the best as always.

Adding rice to the dish will likely negate the salt issue and the paper towels the oil issue.

Gumbo into jambalaya. Briliant. :)

Dec 07, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Help! gumbo came out too oily / too salty

Too much vegg oil= likely oil problem.

Too much Tony Chachere's = salt problem.

There are many a creole or cajun spice recipe out there madr from scratch that solves teh salt issue.

It's a known problem and thus why I do not use Tony Chachere's or Slap Yo Mama in such dishes but keep both in the pantry.

I can't remember off hand the proper flour to oil ratio, but I can guess that was the problem.

In the orignal recipe I would guess teh rendered duck fat may pose a problem with greseyness in some cases.

I;m not a roux expert, but the off teh shelf Tony Chachere's wrecked the salt balance.
BTDT many many years ago.

Dec 07, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Perplexing Problem with Pizza Stone

I thought he very same thing.

Since I am a total science geek /dweeb, I too want to approach this as a process.

If OP has access to a IR heat reader gun, take surface temp of stone once heated to see if it matches oven temp.
AFAIK, pizza stones do not wear out.

Next step to me would to be borrow a pizza stone from a friend and see if you get the same results , even if just using one of your processes.

After that I would go buy some cheap quarry tile from teh home store and line the rack to cook on and give it a go and study the results.
What to look for here:

Lsst for me would be to buy another pizza stone, but the three steps above should tell you if its a pizza stone issue or an oven issue.

If an oven issue, then you will need to adjust your pizza making to suit the tool (aka oven). Or buy a different oven or a special pizza making oven. LOL.
But--I have seen people do it.



Good luck.

Dec 07, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Cookware

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

Usually the mid-level (and of course high-level) tablecloth restaurants I frequent will almost always give you a full set-up meaning all the silver wear you need for a meal including soup spoon, salad fork and in some cases dessert spoon at the top of the plate position. As courses are finished, the untensils used for it are removed.

More casual but still table cloth places give you the std. knife/fork/spoon in the napkin and bring you utensils depending upon your order(s). In that case, it's still the same process, unless a soups spoon or salad fork is not brought with your dinner, where, if it being what I call a casual place, I will keep and reuse teh silveware I have.

As others have mentioned, mid-range means less servers per table which means once you surrender your utensils, it may and often can be a challenge to secure a replacement from the service staff. Especially if busy.

I find lacking a steak knife when ordering steak or lacking a seafood fork or shell cracker when ordering lobster or shellfish a far larger inconvenience.

If teh table cloth is removed and changed between services, I have no problem resting my used utensils on it, but usually a bread plate is there to negate that problem.

While utensil Etiquette protocol does exist,
there is a lot of interpretation out there. Unkowning service fstaff or restaurant /owner rules/protocols with clean-up costs in mind are teh first two to pop into my head.

I guess if you go Ethiopian for your dinner choice though , that whole utensil canundrum would be a mute point... :-)

And to your point, no , I personally would not expect my dinner knife to be taken away and replaced at the appetizer course clean up time. To me that knife also is my butter knife and dinner course knife unless dining at a high-end restaurant. And even then it may or may not be swapped out.

YMMV of course.

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

LW is correct .

You either have to replace 2 or all 4 unless it is a nearly new set of tires and you have a blowout on one and can find an exact or near exact replacement of the same brand and style.

As a mutiple car owner, car guy and hoarder of wheels and tires for my cars, (7 sets of 4 minty fresh wheels/tire combos NOT counting those currently on the cars in my basement-that's 28 tires) tires are one of the most common addages of "you get what you pay for."
I runs snows in the winter and performance in the summer.
The price of rubber,oil and tires have all gone up over the last few years big-time.
Be wary of the Chinese m ade tires as well as the lower aftermarket stuff like Kuhmo and low end Korean brands.
Lots of out-of round problems, inability to stay balanced problems and tread de-lamination problems on those.

And if you have TPMS (tire pressure monitoring sensors) on each wheel , make sure the installer re-sync's that system with the new tires mounted and driven on a few miles other wise your TPMS dash light will come on and you'll have to make a trip back to your installer.

I moderate/ admin several car fourms so I hear it all alot.
/end tire lesson.
Now back to food. Sorry CH mods.

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

MidTT, we used to have a local Mexican restuarant that used to do that riff for lunch service.

They called it cheken and black bean lasagna, where they used spice rubbbed grilled chicken and then shredded, flour tortillas, refried black beands, black bean,cilantro and corn tomato salsa, std tomato salsa, griddled onions and lots of cheddar and monterey jack cheese in the layers and of course on top.
Served in a square topped with salsa of choice, sour cream and black olives.

It was devine.

Restaurant is long gone as are the recipes, but I do the same riff on it with awesome resukts.

I've seen some folks add red enchilada sauce, but that can get overwhelming to me. Using Hatch green enchilada sauce has netted me better results when going rogue with it. LOL.

Wish I say it more at restaurants, but it rocks as a homey dish.

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

Cold and dreary last night meant the carbonara.
Toaster oven baked bacon becasue I did not want to dirty a skillet. Ha. Bacon tossed with pasta, egg, romano, lots of black pepper and some baby peas. I usually add sauteed garlic if I break the skiilet out, but added a hint of granulated garlci to get a bit of flavor.

Not full on traditional, but tasty.
I think dinner out or take away pizza or calzones tonite. My local joint has a killer spinach, mushroom and Italian sausage calzone that uses both ricotta and provalone as cheese fikllings in addtion the the above.
I hear it calling. I think. :-P

I'm nervous! Keeping oven on over night to make pulled pork

Not having any Idea how or in what kind of dish you cooked the pork , I was a bit vague.

I cook my pulled pork in a big metal shallow roasting pan and use a "v" rack to keep the meat out of the fat.

I cook for 6 to 8 hours uncovered until a bark or crust forms and then cover teh pan with foil to keep the top of the butt from burning/drying out.

If the bark gets too soft, I remove foil at 190F and cook meat to 200F uncovered.

Let me find the mop recipe. It's from a BBQ guy over on roadfood.com

Or you can also add some of the pan juice and fat back into the meat, but for me, I;d de-fat the drippings and use just the juice to keep greasiness down.

The mop I use is a cooked mixture of apple juice, worchestershire sauce,cider vinegar, garlic, cayenne, cloves, dry mustard and a few other items, and has a subtle flavor but adds moisture back to the pork when pulled and helps to cut the fat a bit. I inject my butts with it as well pre cooking/smoking.

It's not necessary if you use the defatted pan juice, but I like it.

Dec 06, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

I'm nervous! Keeping oven on over night to make pulled pork

If it were me, I;d toss it back in a 225F or 250F oven and get the internl temp back up ti 195F to 200F and Ild cover with foil to try and retain as much moisture as possible.

3 hours would not be a health issue for me, but YMMV.

Cook to proper temp, rest, pull and see if you need to add some mop or bsting juice back into the meat for moisture.

That's what I'd do.

Dec 06, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Pulled Pork in Oven - timing issue

I'd put in the oven at 4pm and pull it out when done.

My remote probe thermometer has a target temp on it that whne hit, causes a beeper to go off that acts like an alarm clock.

I get up, pull meat from oven, cover in foil if not already done so, put pan on counter and go back to bed to let it rest.
After a rest, I pull.

Dec 06, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Which pasta?

Thoae are the two I use as well for that dish.

Dec 06, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

Doesn't matter gemvt. :-)
WFD is not always what one eats at home.

Cold wet and nasty in my world tonight.

Either pasta carbonara with sweet sweet just bought butcher bacon and egg and pasta with fontinella or cheesy Cincy chili cheese coneys with onions, hot sauce, grilled dogs , and steamed buns in my future tonite.


One or the other will be made at home tonite.
I ain't skeered.

Pics will be taken.

Rustichella d'Abruzzo 90-second spaghetti - Has anyone tried it?

Well, but you ARE paying $6 for a $1 box of pasta and in the end less than a pound of dried pasta.

So while less energy usage is a gallant effort and noble cause, you are $5 the poorer for a yet unknown product.

Make fresh if you want lower cook times, but buying instant pasta reminds me of buying instant rice.
Caveat Emptor.

And sorry CH, I;ll continue to cook any pasta I want any way i want guilt free.

Dec 05, 2014
jjjrfoodie in General Topics

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

LOL fld.

As a long time dog owner, I;ve always had to worry about the marking/peeing on the base of any fresh cut tree when used for Christams, never the climbing aspect.

But now having many friends as cat owners, the Chrsitmas tree climbing/scaling, the ornament batting and the Shiney tinsel batting and chewing is a now known to me peril for any tree with pets near it. And kitties usually do it at night, usually in some kind of kitty "hyped up 'zoom-soom'state" that usually ends in a large clatter or thud or awakeneing to a smattering of broken ornaments.

Good luck.
It's funny when it's not your tree or cat, but the dangers for poor kitty are real and present.

Dec 05, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

...but Christopher Walken plays the role of Captain Hook. He sings, he dances. What could go wrong?

On the family front, son Christopher sent me a note saying he took delivery of his new car today. It's an Audi RS5, sporting 450 horsepowers. He's jumping out of his skin with excitement. I'm happy for him. It's been a long time coming and he paid cash (mercy). I'm guessing there will be a few track days up at Lime Rock Park in our future.


I plan to watch Peter Pan to some extent , but when in doubt, keep in mind, t "I think we need more cowbell..." :-P


LOLZ, Yes-I am that old.
And my memory that good.

As for you son's Audi, Congrats.
As a current Audi owner I love mine, except the heated seats make me feel like I pee'd myself when they get warm, thus they are seldom used.
He will love the car. His wallet and bank account will refute that notion.

As I always say, "I have an inny (belly button reference", but I drive an Audi."

Ha. Gets a laugh every time.

For dinner for me tonite, some leftover shrimp with lobstere sauce, steamed rice, steamed brocolli and some wonton soup.

The smoked chicken last night kicked ass. And my poor Northface polar fleece vest still smells like the smoked meat from last worn on Sunday.

What is your favorite stovetop meal?


Homemade meatballs, suasages and pork chops in Sunday Gravy.

Saute meat in olive oil until brown on the outside and pull.

Toss in tomato paste and fry briefly, add tomato puree and spices and other goodies including wine, toss meat and juice and fat back in and cook long over low heat.

As fourunder says, any meat will work. :-).

Serve over pasta of choice.

Texaspeeppers, if you have an outdoor grill, that may help vary your meals. Or even cook over an open fire pit with a grate.

I also do chicken and dumplings on the stovetop as well as braised meats for tacos.

You can griddle tortillss to get crispy on the stovetop as well as crisp up garlic bread face down or even pizza crust down and covered in a skillet on the stovetop.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Dec 04, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

Best smoker for a dilletante?

Weber Smokey Mtn. of you want to baby sit it.
Brinkmann electric if you want to set and forget. Just gotta add chunks of smoke wood at certain times.

I;ve used my Brinkmann for almost a decade with no problems nor any downside in food quailty. At all.

AND I own a Treager pellet pooper I only break out during the summer.

I got the Brinkmann for free, but theae are normally had For $75 USD or so new.

Say what you want.

I;d buy another in a heartbeat.

Then there is always the UDS aka ugly drum smoker.

And yes, the food shown above is just what I made on this passes Sunday (plus two moe chickens not shown from the other rack).
And I made a fire resistant insulated aluminum thermal blanket and hat for the Brinkmann so I can smoke all winter long.

Appetizer meatballs for molasses sauce

Yes---how silly and inefficient of you! LOLZ.

I have used frozen meatballs and mini meatballs in a pinch, but I find them far more fillers and preservatives than meat. As far as freah meatblss adding fat or grease? Ha. little water should be secreted and as for the fat, better a little fat then chemical based fillers for me.

I don't see whay a traditional meatball recipe would not work, and then run the spice mix in what direction you like.

Pureed and strained lemongrass and tamarind if you want thai, some yellow Madras curry powder or garam masala if going Indian,etc.
If chili powder for you means the multi mix powder found in the USA, then I;d stay simple.
Add some adobo sauce (from chipotles in adobo ) and some dried ground ancho chile powder to the meatballs if you want a slight zing, but the ginger rings Asian while if the chili powder is the USA stuff, that tends to scream Southwest/Texas since if is often used as a chili staple for many.

I'm curious how the chili powder and ginger will work.Not two things I use together and I make the Tried and True meatballs in Heinz chili sauce and grape jelly appetizer for my family a couple times a year. And I never have lerftovers.

Dec 04, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

My marinade contains orange juice, will it keep for a month?

If you cook it for some time and then cool it, it may last a few weeks to a month, but the scallions and the onions will likely go off even if cooked.

If uncooked, the orange juice will go off a litle over a week as it begins to ferment. BTDT with jarred orange juice. It's just oxidationa and breakdown.

I;d make fresh and use within a week or so as greygarious suggests.

I make a bbq injection mix and wet mop that includes apple juice, cloves , cinnamon, garlic powder, worstershire sauce and a few other spices and I heat and cook for 20+ minutes and cool and it keeps for months in the fridge , but the citrus marinades go off pretty quickly as the acid just does funcky things as it does normally in nature.

Dec 04, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #337 - the It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Hanukkah 2014 Edition! [through December 8, 2014]

Awesome!Jarona, can you explain how the white chocolate gets into the crumble?

I get the baked crumble sans chocolate,very easy, but how is the "melted" white chocolate and the rest of the milk powder incorported into a now "cooled" crumble at the end without making a mess of things or drizzl;ing the chocolate in which there is not in any description or pics. None.
Unlesa the chocolate is cooled, processed with the mild powder and follded in at the end.

Things do NOT add up.

There is a missing link in the process with the crumb.

Dec 03, 2014
jjjrfoodie in Home Cooking