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JVHcook's Profile

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Ballantine cancels Paula Deen's upcoming cookbook -- which was already #1 on the Amazon list

Funny how her sales just seem to be rising everywhere that hasn't dropped her products (publicity is publicity). Looks like you can no longer order a copy on Amazon, but it remains as one of three of her books now in the top 20 bestsellers...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/...

I'm interested to see how and if she recovers after all of this, clearly a large portion of people aren't put off.

Jun 30, 2013
JVHcook in Food Media & News

Le Creuset French Ovens/Casseroles

I've found my 5 and a half round to be extremely useful the last few years, and definitely see it as worth the price I bought it for. (Managed to find it on sale at Amazon to save a bit more than the Le Creuset website)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007...

I've used it for anything from weeknight family meals to larger entertaining dishes. When it comes to entertaining, the beautiful pots themselves make it worth it for me as serving straight out of the colorful oven can really make a dish stand out. Splurging on well-made cookware is always worth it for me, I'm sure I'll be using mine for a good 25 years more.

Jun 29, 2013
JVHcook in Cookware

Learning to cook at a restaurant

As someone who has been working in a French Bistro, if you want to learn to actually 'cook' (as in getting on the line) you're looking at huge time commitment before most places will let you start turning out food to be served. You should expect to be peeling, chopping, and even dish washing for a few months at first, but if this is what you're expecting it can teach you a ton about food prep and really make you a better cook in and of itself. Just being in that atmosphere will help you pick up on other things as well, and in a kitchen full of helpful people you'll learn much much more than you'd ever expect about things you'd never think of outside of a restaurant kitchen.

A kitchen job, however, can be very exhausting and time consuming, and you're generally required at work when everyone else is out socializing (think Friday Saturday nights). Depending on your schedule and what else is going on in your life it's definitely a rewarding and learning-intensive experience, but it might be more reasonable to sign up for a few classes instead. Also in regards to your original question I think I would definitely research a chain restaurant to make sure they're making things from scratch first or just call up somewhere else and confirm most of their menu is made in-house.

Jun 29, 2013
JVHcook in General Topics
3

WS All-Clad D5 SS 10 piece set....good deal?

Very true. I'd definitely go for the new handles if it were me, seeing as the pans would probably last over a decade I'd look for what was most comfortable.

Jan 16, 2012
JVHcook in Cookware

WS All-Clad D5 SS 10 piece set....good deal?

I personally wouldn't jump on that deal, as compared to other sources the price isn't all that great. Here you can find the Tri-ply for only $600 for a nine piece set, which would suit one well for a long time: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

Or if you're willing to spend the original amount posted above, you can even go ahead and get a copper core 5-ply 10 piece AC set, which I would recommend over the link you posted above:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...
The copper is really preference though, as some seem to love it and others not so much.

Just for the price you're paying, that set from WS wouldn't be my first choice, especially if you're shopping online. If you want any more advice on certain sets, or how I've felt about them, feel free to ask!

Jan 16, 2012
JVHcook in Cookware

Soy Sauce

Yeah, I've been very happy with them. I didn't realize I linked to the dark, it was the first one to come up. You're correct in that the light is what I use most often.

Jan 16, 2012
JVHcook in General Topics

So many cookbooks and nothing to cook

I second this. Carbonara is sooo simple, yet always seems to impress if you do it well. I'm a big fan of Marcella Hazan's recipe if you want something more specific.

Jan 16, 2012
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Soy Sauce

Here's my favorite, very flavorful, and not too expensive choice whenever I need some more: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000... (Pearl River Bridge
)They have a wide variety at Amazon, if the one above doesn't seem to fit your liking as well:
http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/?_enc... (I excluded Kikkoman from the search, so hopefully it doesn't come up

)

Otherwise I would go to a local Asian market as said above, and ask the salesman there to point you in the right direction.

Jan 16, 2012
JVHcook in General Topics

Losing interest in Iron Chef America

Totally agree with you, the novelty seems to have worn off and all the bells and whistles just bother me now. I still learn something interesting now and then, but now it's very rare. My favorite part is when they introduce the challenger and getting to see their career and restaurant, because right now I'm still learning about all the famous/talented chefs out there.

Jan 16, 2012
JVHcook in Food Media & News

What do You Like to Fix When You Get the Munchies?

Popcorn or nachos, I just need that saltiness.

Jan 15, 2012
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Should I buy kitchen aid pasta attachment?

If you don't have a lot of counter space, I bought this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000... (Norpro Drying Rack), which I really enjoy for the low cost (you could probably make one yourself if you felt motivated). Otherwise, as long as you flour the pasta a bit and lay it out flat, it will be fine, just take up a good amount of space. Really I would say it depends on how much you plan on making pasta.

Jan 15, 2012
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Should I buy kitchen aid pasta attachment?

I recently bought this
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...
and it's been just amazing. Such an ease of use, and not having to crank the machine is worth all the extra money.
Different types of flour will give you different tastes and textures. I would recommend getting some http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001... (Bellino Semolina Flour) and
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003... (Antimo Caputo Italian Superfine "00" Farina Flour), as I've had great luck with them. Good luck with your pasta, and if you want to know more about the flour types I'd be happy to help!

Jan 15, 2012
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Kiwi Knife Questions

I've checked or called all of my local markets, with no luck. I did look at some local Chinese Cleaver sizes though to see what I might like best, and decided to start with the 6 inch; can't wait to try it out.

Jul 14, 2011
JVHcook in Cookware

Kiwi Knife Questions

Wow, thanks for extensive reply. I think I'll start with the 6 inch as I'm more comfortable with a smaller knife at this point. I don't think I'll get a specialized knife for chicken if most knifes, used correctly, will do the job. This has been very helpful.

Jul 14, 2011
JVHcook in Cookware

Kiwi Knife Questions

I'll check that out also, thanks for the information.

Jul 14, 2011
JVHcook in Cookware

Kiwi Knife Questions

Alright, this makes sense, thanks! Looking at the cleavers, they have a 3, 6, and 8.5 inch. Would the 8.5 be unwieldy for someone with average size hands, and if not would it be worth it getting that size over the 6 inch?
And would any of these knives be better than the others for say, butchering a raw whole chicken? Sorry if this is basic information, I'm new to knives and I'm not really sure.
Thanks again.

Jul 14, 2011
JVHcook in Cookware

Kiwi Knife Questions

Hi everyone.
I am looking to buy some new Kiwi knives, after hearing all the rave about them and I had a few questions. First, this is where I will buying the knives from:

http://www.importfood.com/thai_knives...

Looking at their selection, my first question was would you recommend the plastic or wood handles for the knives? I don't really care about how they look, so if the plastic handle would be just as easy to use and of the same quality, I would rather buy plastic for easier cleaning.
Also, I am new to these kinds of knife, so after some research would I be correct to say that if I want to buy a few (why not because of the price?) should I buy a Thai Cleaver for everyday chopping (not bones), a fruit knife as a sort of paring knife, and the set of 3 plastic knives? Of the set of 3 plastic knives I figure the chef's knife would serve the same purpose as the cleaver, just as a different style to see which I prefer, and then the meat knives would be used for cutting meat (would these be suitable for cutting a small bone)?

Thanks for any advice, I tried to find out as much as I could about these knife styles online, but there wasn't as much as I had hoped for. I just want to be sure I am using the correct knives for their intended purposes.

Jul 14, 2011
JVHcook in Cookware

*July 2011 COTM, BATALI II: Bruschetta, Pizza and Flatbreads

So I tried out the Pizza from Italian grill last night. It calls for making the dough, letting it rise once, and then it says it's ready for use. I did this, punched it down, then left it in the fridge for about 6 hours until it was dinner-time.
I figured I should just stick to his toppings, and he has only two pizzas, so I did two Margherita and two Salumi Pecorino Pizzas with pepperoni. Now I had done grilled pizzas before, the recipe from Peter Reinhart in 'American Pie,' so I knew the basic ideas and techniques. The first thing I noticed was this dough was a lot harder to stretch out and get to a nice 9 inches or so. Once you stretch it you just place it on the grill, flip once one side is cooked and leave it for 30 seconds on the other then take it off. At this point you put toppings on, then you put it back on the grill to heat the toppings.
Overall it was great pizza, and it got some great reviews from neighbors who we brought dinner to (who had just had delivery pizza). If you haven't tried grilled pizza yet, definitely give this a go, but I would say once you get it down try some different grilled pizza doughs as well.

Jul 03, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

*July 2011 COTM, BATALI II: Antipasti

p. 49 - Lentils with Pancetta - Molto Gusto

This was a great little meal to throw together for a small lunch. Add lentils, carrot, onion, celery, dijon mustard, pancetta (I used bacon because I didn't have pancetta and needed to use up my bacon) and water to a pot and simmer until the lentils are tender. Then you discard the vegetables and chop up the meat to toss back into the lentils, which you then put olive oil and salt and pepper on. The quick broth to cook the lentils in is very simple, yet adds plenty of flavor to the final dish. I did add some chopped parsley because it looked like it needed some color, and this added a nice note of freshness. It even looks like Batali did this in his picture of the recipe, he just didn't write it in. If you need something easy to go along with a meal, this is perfect.

Jul 01, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

*July 2011 COTM, BATALI II: Pasta, Insalata, Vegetables

p. 177 in Molto Gusto - Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu

This was the first recipe I made from Batali, and it was good. I had some fresh homegrown Swiss chard just waiting to be used and when I saw this I knew I had to make it. It really brings out the Swiss Chard and makes for a great pasta dish. The bread crumbs really make the perfect topping as well. My family called it 'a keeper.'

Jul 01, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Uses for Feta?

Highly recommend this, it was delicious. Thanks!

May 21, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Uses for Feta?

Thanks everyone, I think I'm going to try to work my way through a few of these. Good thing I love the taste of feta!

May 20, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Uses for Feta?

Thanks, just tried the chicken and spinach tonight because I had a bunch of leftover chicken as well. It worked great as a very quick and healthy meal to throw together.

May 20, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Ideas for Casual Make-Ahead Dinner for 30

Just wanted to update that I made the Orzo with Roasted Vegetables from Barefoot Contessa and it turned out great! I multiplied the recipe (originally for 6) by 6 and there was only about 1 helping of leftovers. I served it with some grilled cilantro rubbed chicken, and everything turned out well.

May 20, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Uses for Feta?

So I recently acquired an extra 2 pounds of block feta cheese and am struggling for good ideas to use it up. Anyone have any good recipes? And would it go good on a pizza? All suggestions are welcome, thanks.

May 19, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Ideas for Casual Make-Ahead Dinner for 30

So we've just been asked that they would prefer not to have chili or lasagna, because apparently they have been too popular of a choice for their last few dinners...
So now we're thinking of doing a pasta/orzo/cous-cous salad along with an asparagus side to go with it as well.
That roasted vegetable orzo looks good, anyone have any other recipes that they've tried out and were pretty good?

Apr 28, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Ideas for Casual Make-Ahead Dinner for 30

I'll be able to grill at my house before traveling with the food, but not once we arrive. Thanks for the idea. The cous-cous idea sounds fun too, it made me think of "Orzo with Everything" from epicurious, which I've heard is great to make-ahead, but haven't tried yet.

Apr 27, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

Ideas for Casual Make-Ahead Dinner for 30

So I volunteered/was chosen to cook a dinner at my church for around 30 people. It will be casual and it doesn't have to be anything too fancy or time-consuming, I just want something that will please. The tough part is that there will be a few vegetarians there, and the location is about 30 minutes away and I'll have to cook everything at my house and bring it there. We might not even be able to warm things up, so serving at room-temperature might have to do.

So far I think I'll bake a lot of bread to go with whatever else we serve. The main dish is what I need you guys for. Any ideas for serving a crowd this size? Anything is helpful, especially specific recipes. Thanks in advance.

Also, if you have a great dessert that would work I'd love to hear it as well.

Apr 27, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

February 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 9-12

BAKED FLOUNDER page 401
This was a quick, simple, and delicious recipe. Flounder fillets are seasoned with salt and pepper, dill, dijon mustard, and then placed in a buttered baking sheet and then topped with a little butter and some breadcrumbs as well as a lemon juice, soy sauce mixture. The recipe calls for 8 or 12 fillets, which would be stacked on top of eachother, but we only had 4, and the recipe note said you could roll them up if you had only 4 bigger fillets. They are then broiled for 5 minutes, topped with chopped scallions, then placed low in the oven to bake at 450 for 10-15 more minutes (mine barely took 10).
The result was a great tasting flaky fish with a nice crunch to it from the broiling and the breadcrumbs. The simple sauce of butter, lemon juice, and soy went very well with the rest of the flavors. For an easy healthy weeknight recipe this is definitely a keeper, I'm sure I'll make this again.

Feb 26, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking

MARCH COTM IS JAMIE OLIVER'S NAKED CHEF COLLECTION AND JAMIE'S ITALY!!

Just bought The Naked Chef and The Naked Chef Takes off, can't wait to get into them. I haven't used any of his recipes before or even watched his shows. For anyone who can't get them from a library or wants them cheap I got them both for under 5 dollars at half.com, although they are used.

Feb 16, 2011
JVHcook in Home Cooking