caseyjo's Profile

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Don't focus too much on recipes: you don't want to be at the mercy of someone else's taste when you've got only a few random things in the fridge and no time to go to the grocery store. Instead, learn techniques: start with roasting, braising, and sautéing, which will take you very far. Rulhman's books are great for this, and I also recommend Julia Child's The Way to Cook. But seriously, you don't even need books: you can google these terms and get a feel for them. Once you know the whys, you'll be able to make meals that work for your taste and your space.

Also, do not underestimate the importance of knife skills and advance preparation. Mise en place, or putting everything together and prepped in one spot before you begin to cook, is paramount in a small kitchen. I had just one 2x2ish counter in my last apartment, and I got by just fine because I was always organized.

Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook"

I love this cookbook, particularly the section filled with recipes for mussels (I think I've tried them all. I eat a lot of mussels). I also really dig his insistence on using good, homemade stock. Everything I've tried has turned out pretty well, and I've even convinced a dinner guest to buy the book after making her the basque chicken.

We ate at Les Halles last year: it was wonderfully unpretentious brasserie fare (just like the book).

Feb 03, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? January 2014 edition! [Through January 31, 2014]

I have the new John Besh book and love it! It's definitely European, though, and a departure from some of his pervious stuff. There are a lot of recipes for pate, mussels, and potatoes, and a whole section on French Brasserie fare.

Jan 27, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking
1

Odd Dinner Guest Mix

Parmesan cheese is made from enzymes from the stomach of a cow. Cow's stomachs are not vegetarian last time I checked. Most cheese is not made from animal rennet, but parmesan definitely is.

Here's more info: https://www.vegsoc.org/cheese

I mean, I'm definitely not a vegetarian, but I do think that it's not fair to feed vegetarians stuff like calf rennet and gelatin and chicken broth, because those are made directly from animals. Sorry, I'm really not trying to be a jerk, but I just think it's not cool to say that some animal products "don't count" because they totally do.

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Impact of plastic bag ban?

My parents live in Berkeley, and it's really not a big deal for them. They are now more likely to bring their own bags, but they don't mind too much if they have to pay the 10 cents at the store.

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in Not About Food

Ridiculously Basic Question About Scrambling Eggs

Yes, laziness all the way. Perhaps warm would be better, but mine still taste pretty good (probably because of all the cream and butter).

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Odd Dinner Guest Mix

I'd provide vegetarian protein in the form of eggs and legumes, of course! When vegetarians come to dinner, I make the main component vegetarian, but also provide non-vegetarian sides (like charcuterie, or bacon-wrapped dates, or chicken to put in the salad) for the meat eaters.

Odd Dinner Guest Mix

I certainly don't want to suggest that some people require meat at every meal! However, I do feel best eating meat once a day (usually at dinner), so if there's no meat available I do enjoy at least a heads up so I can have some at lunch.

Omnivore means eating all things, including vegetables, fruits, and meats. Carnivores eat only meat. So humans are not carnivores, regardless of what they eat for dinner ;-)

Parmesan is not vegetarian because the rennet used to make it is derived from animal products. It's similar to serving a vegetarian jello. Some vegetarians take this very seriously, some less so, but I would definitely make sure beforehand before serving it!

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking
1

best 100% whole wheat flour?

IMHO, technique is more important that brand when it comes to using whole wheat flour. I've tried both King Arthur and Whole Foods brand, and found them both to be perfectly fine.

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in General Topics
1

What's this kale love?

I like baby kale, and I do prefer kale to other greens in soup, but I'm right there with you! I'd take spinach and Swiss chard over kale any day.

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in General Topics

Odd Dinner Guest Mix

"It is the host's job to please his guests."

I agree with this statement 100%. A good host will take guests into account when planning a menu. A good guest will bring a bottle of wine, eat what's served, and say "Thank you so much for the lovely dinner."

Odd Dinner Guest Mix

Voice of dissent: as an omnivore, I really appreciate having a meat component available. And yes, I do notice when there's no meat, and I while I wouldn't necessarily say that I mind not having meat, I would prefer having some available even as a separate small dish. When I throw dinner parties I do try to be very accommodating, but at the end of the day I don't think it's fair force everyone at the table to cater to the preferences of a single guest. Depends on your guests, of course, but I do get frustrated when people say that no one will miss the meat, because that's really not true.

Also, that Ina Garten recipe looks good but do be aware that parmesan cheese is not vegetarian.

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking
1

Odd Dinner Guest Mix

When vegetarians come over, I often do a quiche along with a separate plate of charcuterie and cheese. I've also done a taco bar, with meat available for the carnivores (corn tacos are also gluten free).

Jan 26, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking
1

Super Bowl Recipes

I always like making gougeres, which are pretty much gruyere cheese puffs. They're festively ball-shaped, which seems appropriate.

This year, I was thinking I'd do a baguette topped with a trout spread, then smoked salmon and dill. Because, you know, Seattle has salmon.

Jan 22, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

What to do with leftover braising liquid

I'm currently braising some pig's feet with onions, celery, and homemade chicken broth. When the feet are cooked to the point of falling apart, I'm going to broil them until they get crispy and serve them with roast potatoes.

I'm going to end up with a flavorful broth that I'm sure will become super gelatinous, and of course it would be a shame to throw that out. What would you do with it? I'm thinking some sort of soup, but nothing is calling out to me. Help me, Chowhound-won-Kenobi, you're my only hope!

Jan 22, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? January 2014 edition! [Through January 31, 2014]

Did you end up getting it? I took advantage of the $12.99 Good Cook sale and ended up buying The New Midwestern Table, which I'm excited about.

The Black Forest cake came out wonderful! However, the batter as written seemed a bit dry, so I added in a cup of whole milk. Don't know if this was something weird with my flour and cocoa powder, or if it was a measurement issue, or if milk is omitted. Regardless, the cake was great and I would certainly make it again.

Still waiting on the dishes I was planning to make, since my duck livers and pig's feet are still defrosting! Hopefully tonight...

Also, I'm trying to source a wild boar; I have hunting relatives who would send one to me, but I need to figure out how that would work logistically (I think a lot of dry ice and very specific instructions about processing).

Jan 21, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Favorite Beef Bourguignon Recipe?

I stopped using a recipe for this ages ago; here's my general (lazy) method. I like to use beef short ribs instead of stew meat; I've heard this is more traditional, but I don't really care because it mostly just takes it over the top.

Anyway, I begin by cooking some lardons until crispy. I remove the lardons and reserve, then brown the beef in the bacon fat. Then I remove the beef and add diced carrots, celery, and onion. I let those soften up for a bit, then deglaze with pinot noir and add some homemade chicken stock (I wish was the kind of person who kept a veal demi-glace in the freezer. Alas, I am not). Then the beef and bacon is returned to the pot and the whole thing is simmered very slowly until the meat is tender, which takes a couple of hours. I usually let it cook on the stovetop, so that I can keep an eye on it.

When it's about finished, I sauté the pearl onions and mushrooms in some butter. If I'm feeling super fancy, I'll remove the meat and then strain the vegetables out before adding the mushrooms and pearl onions, but usually I just leave it as is and just add the mushrooms and pearl onions (because I'm lazy). Typically, I serve this with potatoes.

Oh, and while I certainly appreciate a good bottle of Burgundy, I for sure do not use nice Burgundy in this dish. Most of the flavor of a wine comes from the smell of the wine, and that gets adulterated during cooking. I have a good palate, and yet I cannot taste the difference in this dish between a nicer bottle of Burgundy/Pinot Noir and the inexpensive Rex Goliath Pinot Noir that I usually use. I definitely serve this with a nice bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, but I don't think there's anything lost in cooking with a bottle of wine that is boring, unexceptional, true to the varietal, and not-undrinkable.

Jan 21, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? January 2014 edition! [Through January 31, 2014]

I just got John Besh's Cooking from the Heart, which is incredible: it's probably my favorite cookbook since Ad Hoc. It chronicles Besh's experiences learning about cuisine in Europe (mostly Germany and France), and it also contains short essays of lessons learned.

I'll be trying a recipe for pigs feet with Béarnaise sauce this weekend. I'm also planning to make the duck liver mousse and the black forest cake within the next couple days. A lot of the recipes have caught my eye, including marrow dumplings in veal consommé and a country style pork pâté.

Jan 17, 2014
caseyjo in Home Cooking

When do you tip low (10% or less)

Same here: my typical tip is 20% but if the service is bad, I go down to 15%. Maybe I have good luck, but I usually have excellent service (I mostly eat out at home in Chicago, and while visiting my parents in San Francisco; maybe service in other cities isn't as good).

Actually, I usually tip $1/drink if I'm getting them at the bar, which means that I'm not doing 15% for a $8+ drink, but it's 33% if the drinks are on $3 special, which happens fairly often. I guess it evens out.

Sep 27, 2013
caseyjo in Not About Food

So, what's the average Chowhounder's weight?

5'1" and 115-118. I got down to below 110 a few summers ago and felt way too thin, so I started weight training :-)

Sep 27, 2013
caseyjo in Not About Food

Your flaws as a cook. Here are mine.

Are you me? Because this was pretty much everything I was going to list.

Sep 05, 2013
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Your flaws as a cook. Here are mine.

That's me too! I always try to cook more from my cookbooks, but I can never seem to follow a recipe without completely changing everything.

Sep 05, 2013
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Somethings that you eat that others think are gross..

I'm always surprised at what others think is gross. I've had negative comments on bone marrow, liver, kidney, rabbit, cracklings, and my wonderful home-rendered lard. These are things that people have been eating for centuries, and beyond that they're incredibly tasty!

On the other hand, I won't go anywhere near margarine, fat-free dairy products, or anything sweetened with aspartame. Because I think those things are gross.

Sep 05, 2013
caseyjo in General Topics

So what's the average Chowhound's age?? (Part 2)

I guess I'm one of the younger ones here, at 27.

Jun 02, 2013
caseyjo in Not About Food

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? May 2013 Edition [old]

Thanks for the tip; it's great to see someone cooking in a "real" kitchen (not that giant, fancy kitchens aren't real, but most people don't have that luxury).

Jun 01, 2013
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

Letting it come up to room temperature (or as close to it as you can) before putting it in the oven. I usually just leave the whole chicken on the counter for an hour before putting it in the oven. By doing this, the meat cooks more evenly.

May 31, 2013
caseyjo in General Topics

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? May 2013 Edition [old]

I just bought The Little Paris Kitchen. I'm just too much of a sucker for French food to pass it up. Hasn't come yet, but I'm looking forward to trying Duck à l'Orangina.

May 31, 2013
caseyjo in Home Cooking

Are People Still Enamored by Tasting Menus?

For me, it depends on how well they do tasting menus. Like any other somewhat-pricey purchase, I'm not going to order one without doing my research (depends on where I'm going, of course, but my minimum expectation for a tasting menu is going to be going to be $150, when tax/tips/at least a glass of wine is taken into account, and I think that's non-trivial). I'm happy to order it if it's well done, and if I'm in a mood for a tasting menu.

May 31, 2013
caseyjo in General Topics

Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

Generally, I don't think it's an issue of skill, as much as it's a questionable taste level ;-)

I'll poke fun at both myself and a friend. One of my friends seasons chicken breast by pretty much pouring on dried herb blends (she likes things "spicy"). The chicken gets cooked to 180 or so, then put in the fridge, then microwaved to order. She tells me I shouldn't bother springing for the free range chickens at the farmers' market, because she can get them so much cheaper at the bargain grocery store (!!) and "it's impossible to tell the difference."(?!?!?)

In college, I entered a baking competition at my part-time job. I had baked a ton with my mom, but never meringues. However, I decided to make them anyway, because they sounded French and impressive. Unfortunately, I didn't really know what "beating egg whites until stiff peaks form" meant, and I just whisked them until I got bored of it. The recipe ("forgotten cookies") calls for preheating the oven, then turning it off and leaving the cookies in overnight. The next morning, the cookies were pretty much lumps of hardened sugary egg whites. That was about when my roommate told me I should probably invest in a hand mixer.

May 31, 2013
caseyjo in General Topics

Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

It's funny, because I usually make roast chicken as my go-to, don't have to think about it meal when entertaining. I'm always surprised by how impressed people are! I always tell that all there is to it is cooking the chicken until it's done. I mean, I usually do additional stuff, like tempering the meat and making sure the skin is really dry, then salting (heavily), trussing, rubbing on sticks of butter after roast, and resting. However, I don't think it has to be that complicated. It's pretty much the easiest dish I can think of (and the one I would teach a 12 year old, if asked to give them a "recipe" to get them excited about cooking).

May 31, 2013
caseyjo in General Topics