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Pork belly pieces

Sorry - I didn't mean to post this as a question/answer. But for what it's worth, I did as hotoynoodle suggested and it turned out great. Next time will get whole slab instead of pieces. Thanks!

1 day ago
Nyleve in Home Cooking

Pork belly pieces

So on impulse I bought some pork belly that was cut into pieces - maybe 1 inch wide and 4 inches long. I think I have about 1-1/2 lbs. I had originally had my mind set on slow roasting it. Is this possible? What if I re-form the pieces so that they're squished together as if it was a solid slab? Prefer not to grill - it's -20 C outside today. Ugh.

Feb 27, 2015
Nyleve in Home Cooking

Secrets to easy kitchen cleaning?

Wait. So you're worried about the "petroleum" base of Barkeepers Friend but you're ok using car polish on cookware to avoid fingerprints? I am puzzled.

Feb 20, 2015
Nyleve in Not About Food

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

Brilliant reply. Brings back an evil eye memory from my own family. I was visiting my parents with my two kids - a 3 month old and a 2 year old. There was another couple visiting them at the time also. The woman was over-the-top slavering over my baby son. She went on and on saying how beautiful he was ad nauseum. After this couple left, my son had a bout of colic, which occasionally happened in the early evening and I spent about an hour in a quiet bedroom getting him settled down. Well, when I came out of the bedroom, I found my mother in the kitchen doing some kind of weird ritual involving matches, some charcoal and a glass of water. I had never seen her doing anything like this before. Turns out she was sure her friend had put the evil eye in my son (which is why the crying fit) and she was performing the remedy. I was shocked. I had no idea she did stuff like that. She was a bit embarrassed to explain it to me but I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised - she was born in Transylvania.

Feb 15, 2015
Nyleve in Not About Food
3

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

I get that you're upset and I agree that the non-responders are rude. But is this really a matter worth creating a big family kerfuffle about? So many nasty things can happen to split a family apart, the lack of manners regarding a party should really not be one of them. Just phone them and find out whether they plan to come.

A Trick to Tone Down Sweetness

Adding stuff to prepared food that "tones down" the sweetness, does not remove the sugar. Just stop using prepared foods and you can control the amount of sugar (or salt, or hydrogenated fats or miscellaneous crappola) in what you are eating. You are only fooling yourself - if you even are.

Fresh rhubarb emergency!

Interim update to the rhubarb problem. I have been in contact with Lennox Farms and they wil be providing me with a case of rhubarb (!) next week via a convoluted route involving the food terminal, a local produce market and a secret handshake. I have my fingers crossed because this has, indeed, been a weird quest.

Feb 13, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Natural gas cooktop (Canada) - the search begins

I did check. The only one they carry is this: http://www.costco.ca/.product.1000079...

It's a brand called Ancona and comes in both a 4 burner and 5 burner model. Price is very attractive, but I don't know enough about these appliances to know if it sounds like a good unit. I never heard of Ancona before.

Feb 12, 2015
Nyleve in Cookware

Fresh rhubarb emergency!

I know. I grow quite a lot of rhubarb in my garden and most of the plants I have were started from chunks of old plants growing in other peoples gardens. All different varieties and with subtle differences in appearance and taste. And to compound my problem, greenhouse forced rhubarb is very different from garden grown. Nevertheless, I have to test these recipes and greenhouse rhubarb is the only thing I can get at this time of year. For my purposes, it will have to do. The recipes will be loose enough to accommodate the difference.

Feb 12, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Natural gas cooktop (Canada) - the search begins

As part of an updating of my 30+ year old kitchen, I want to replace the (crappy annoying piece of junk) gas cooktop I have been suffering with for umpteen years. I have no idea where to begin this quest. Looking for advice on how to choose; recommended brands; personal experiences. Do not need fancy - just want something that will give me good heat and burners that will freaking well light when I turn the knob. Price, alas, IS a factor. And it must be available in Canada.

Feb 11, 2015
Nyleve in Cookware

Fresh rhubarb emergency!

Grilling it. I'm working on a project for a client. Not my decision to do this at this time of year, but it is what it is.

Feb 11, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Fresh rhubarb emergency!

Thanks all. My local guy now says he should be able to get some in this week. But if not, I'll drive into toronto if I need to. This is so stupid. I would never do this for myself - it's for a job I'm doing.

Feb 10, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Fresh rhubarb emergency!

I need fresh rhubarb for a specific reason. Have checked everywhere in peterborough area, including wholesalers. Anyone seen it anywhere at any price? Cannot use frozen.

Feb 10, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Saigon - one last dinner

We arrived back in Saigon after a month of travel and just wanted a simple meal at the end of a long bus ride. We left the choice of restaurant to a friend who lives in Vietnam and was meeting up with us that evening. I'm not going to bother mentioning the name of the place he took us, but it was one of those dreadful places in the backpacker area, with loud music and boring, if not terrible, food. So I wasn't about to let him choose a place for our last meal before flying home. Instead we went to a restaurant called Cuc Gach Quan, which sounded interesting from the reviews I read. It's in District 1, but a fairly long taxi ride from where we were staying, down a dark side street. Turned out to be a great choice. The place is beautiful - rustic but very tastefully designed. The menu is extensive to the point of confusing, but with many items that we'd seen nowhere else. They serve dishes that are traditional but unusual, and we loved the food. For starters we had some kind of cold mustard-leaf rolls filled with beef and a morning glory salad which were both delicious. We had eaten a lot of morning glory during our travels, but never raw before. We also shared an eggplant dish, shrimp in coconut milk, pork ribs cooked in a clay pot and something else I can't remember. Unfortunately we were in a bit of a rush to leave - friends had to get to the airport - so were unable to try any desserts. Price was very reasonable - I think it worked out to about $12 per person, with cocktails to start, wine list is a bit expensive so we didn't bother with that. Highly recommended and worth the taxi fare to get there.

Feb 06, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Phnom Penh short report

Thanks! Sometimes it's really hard to get out of the traps laid for tourists in a city where you've just arrived. One has to be a little persistent, expect the worst, and hope for the best.

Feb 03, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Phnom Penh short report

Thanks! Sometimes it's really hard to get out of the traps laid for tourists in a city where you've just arrived. One has to be a little persistent and prepare for the worst.

Feb 03, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Phnom Penh short report

Correct on the price. It was a section of honeycomb but not filled with honey - filled with larva. I saw them selling it at the market also. And if you're fussy about messing about with your food, they were also selling just the larva separately. I guess it's the skinless, boneless chicken breast of bees. I saw that just down the aisle from the lady who was selling big baskets of fried tarantulas, crickets and some other big insects. And people were buying them.

There isn't any way I would have ordered the bee larva. I'm a beekeeper myself and it would be like eating my own children. On the other hand, last night I ate mouse or rat (unclear I which it was) and a small bite of snake. But I'm in the Mekong delta now, where these things are normal, I guess.

Feb 01, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Phnom Penh short report

At first it seemed like the food situation in Phnom Penh was going to be pretty dire. Chowhound didn't have much in the way of recommendations except for higher end dining, which was not what we were looking for. And the Lonely Planet was typically useless, with listings of Mexican and Italian and other international stuff. Even worse, because our hotel messed up on our reservations, we were comped a meal at the hotel, which my instincts told me would be horrible but my companions said I was just being silly not to accept a free meal. It was, of course, horrible. So our first evening wasn't a success, food wise. But the next day we found a couple of places worth mentioning. Having wimped out on the food stalls at the Russian market - it was hot,dark and intimidating - we walked about two blocks west of the market's north end and found a perfectly excellent place on a corner with red awning with no English writing to be seen anywhere. So we don't know the name of the place but it's directly across from a large BBQ restaurant on the opposite corner. We had an assortment of Cambodian dishes, all of which were good. And the bill for 4 came to about $20.

That evening, against the protestations of our hotel manager, we went to a popular BBQ place called Sovanna 2, which was only a few blocks from our hotel. She blanched when we told her where we were going but I was not at all interested in the kind of blah tourist food that they seemt to think was appropriate. Sovanna was filled to the brim with locals, clean and efficient and had a "tourist wrangler" who helped us order stuff. Grilled pork, beef, shrimp and some noodle dish and another thing called an "equatic water plant" which was all delicious. There was a LOT of stuff on the menu that we did not order, including roasted bees and various dishes with ant eggs. The menu was hilarious and I wish I could have stolen one as a souvenir. Meal for 4 was $21.

On to the Mekong delta and then home. Great stuff all over the place - you just have to look for it.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Although foodwise, Siem Reap is, as others have reported, a bit of a wasteland, we did manage to have a few good meals. I realize that coming from Vietnam, we were somewhat spoiled, though. The Khmer food we ate in Siem Reap was less flavourful on the whole and didn't use the abundance of beautiful fresh herbs and greens we'd enjoyed in Vietnam. But still, it was ok and the charming people compensated a little.

Our first night we ate at Old House which was actually the least interesting meal we had in Siem Reap. We had the $6 set menu, so it was inexpensive, but the food was flat and uninteresting. Location was ok, just off the Pub Street so not such a zoo.

On the second night we had reservations at Cuisine Wat Damnak and it was pretty wonderful. The French chef has taken local Cambodian ingredients and showcases them in a tasting menu that changes weekly (I think). The dishes are not actually Cambodian but incorporate the flavours in a really unique way. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner which was served in a beautiful leafy garden. Ridiculously great value - $24 for 5 courses or $28 for 6. Highly recommended but you MUST book ahead.

Had a couple of meals at Khmer kitchen - 2 different locations, one in town and the other one out by the temples. The one near the temples was better, we thought, but both were cheap and edible.

And our last dinner was at a really lovely place called Haven, which is a training restaurant for disadvantaged youth. I am usually suspicious about places like this, which seem to be very common in both Vietnwm and Cambodia, figuring they are overpriced and bland. But this one wasn't either of those things. The food was nice, fresh, beautifully presented and very inexpensive. Our servers were charming and attentive and the garden dining area was comfortable and breezy. I would recommended this place also - but it is worthwhile to book ahead as they're really busy.

On to Phnom Penh and beyond!

Hoi An, Hue and Hanoi

We arrived in Hoi An, after an 8-hour bus ride and an unexpected scooter taxi. We were exhausted, of course. So what would we do but go out for a loud, messy meal at Ba Le Well - a place that serves only ban xeo, a specialty of the region. They bring plates of greens, spring rolls, various grilled sate meats and rice paper and you roll up your own messy package to eat with dipping sauce. It was delicious and silly. Completely overrun with Australians on holiday, but it didn't matter.

Next night we ate at Morning Glory, which is both praised and reviled on this board and others. I understand why. It's upscale, run like a military operation and doesn't feel right after eating at all sorts of grubby street side places. But we had a really wonderful meal - everything was delicious - probably the standout dishes for us were the smoky eggplant, the mango salad, and the prawns served in coconut. But it was all good and probably cost us all of about $8 per person.

Bahn Mi Phuong was as good as everyone says. We tried two different ones - both were delicious.

We only had two dinners in Hue. One was eaten at a place we ducked into to get out of the rain, and it wasn't very good. The next night we ate at The Hanh which was recommended by our hotel nearby. They serve all kinds of local specialties, like banh khoi and something steamed in banana leaf. Also these little dishes with some sort of tapioca type mixture in them, which was tasty and fun to eat. Everything was good and it was dirt cheap.

In Hanoi we have had some great food. I insisted in eating bun cha at a street stall, which terrified everyone else, but it was delicious and no one got sick. We also ate it at the particular restaurant that's always mentioned Duc Kim (?) and it wasn't any better and cost a lot more. We had dinner one night at Quan An Ngon and it was actually pretty great, even though I was reluctant to go there. They do renditions of all sorts of street foods, served in a large outdoor garden. The different stations that cook the dishes are all around - sort of like a food court. Our server took us on a tour of every station and we decided yes or no depending on what we thought looked good. The food was delicious, fresh and the atmosphere was great. The place was full of many more Vietnamese than tourists so I guess it's a place to go for even the locals. We spent less than $10'per person and had more than enough food. Another night we ate at Cha Ca La Vong - it was fun and delicious but as others have said, the portion of fish is very small. And last night we had dinner at Little Hanoi, which is located in the night market area. Bustling craziness all around - we sat on little stools outside so we got to watch all the action on the street. Food was really really good, especially the grilled eggplant and the pork with five spice. Good spring rolls too. Dirt cheap.

On to Siem Reap today!

[ Hoi An] Report from SF Chowhound

Me too!

Jan 14, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

[ Hoi An] Report from SF Chowhound

Heading to Hoi An tomorrow! Glad to have your recommendations - will let you know what we discover.

Jan 14, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Where to buy wild or healthy shrimp year-round in Toronto?

Used to be shrimp was a special, expensive treat. Like fresh salmon. Now they are both ubiquitous and inexpensive. And ruined. I absolutely will not buy farmed salmon at all, and have reduced our shrimp consumption quite a lot. I do buy those red Argentinian wild ones which are delicious, but I'm not confident the fishery is sustainable. Even my biologist son has been unable to get much information about that particular fishery. He has forbade me from farmed salmon, however, and I have obeyed. II think we all need to stop consuming these things as we have been doing and go back to considering them a luxury for special occasions.

As for those horrid frozen shrimp rings, I reserve my deepest disapproval for that rubbery garbage.

Jan 07, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Excellent! Thanks - leaving tomorrow! Will keep on the lookout for more posts while on the road.

Jan 05, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Leaving on Tuesday! So your post comes just in time. Thanks! We are just two couples travelling together, so we will look into Hanoikids. I have heard of them from someone else also - thanks for the reminder.

Jan 03, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Eggs all Taste The Same to Me

We keep chickens for eggs. The taste of the eggs they lay is extremely dependent on season and environment. In the spring and summer, when our birds are wandering around eating plenty of greens and bugs, the egg yolks are deep orange and the taste is richer - more eggy, if you will. In the winter, when their diet consists almost entirely of commercial feed, the eggs are much less flavourful and probably taste more like supermarket eggs. We supplement with kitchen scraps, of course, but its not enough to give them that summer deliciousness. Freshness has almost nothing to do with the flavour - it really mostly affects the consistency of the eggs. If you have never tasted a fresh, summer egg, then you will certainly think they all taste alike.

Where to buy wild or healthy shrimp year-round in Toronto?

Thank you for that link. I have been trying to get information on the Argentine Red Shrimp I buy and never did find anything reliable. And, alas, it looks like they're wild but not sustainable. Bleah. I hate facts.

Jan 02, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Where to buy wild or healthy shrimp year-round in Toronto?

Every now and then WagJag has a deal for frozen wild red Argentinian shrimp for what works out to about $10 lb. You have to buy 4 lbs but they're very good quality large shrimp with excellent flavour and texture. I can no longer bring myself to eat farmed shrimp - they just are mushy, rubbery and tasteless to me. I have also seen these same shrimp, frozen, at the Seafood Depot near Steeles and Weston Rd.

Jan 01, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

[ Siem Reap ] Report from SF Chowhound

Keep it up! We leave for Vietnam/Cambodia in a few days and I'm looking for as much chowhound wisdom as I can get!

Dec 31, 2014
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Anyone else sick of people using the term "proteins"?

That was my post and I stand by my annoyance.