biggreenmatt's Profile

Title Last Reply

Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum

That's my understanding, too.

I suspect it's a crisis of "what are we to be?", between the original vision of being a higher-end, pan-Islamic restaurant (with price to match), versus more of a middle-of-the-road, touristy-attraction, family-friendly kind of place. Certainly the latter will, I think, bring more dollars in to the joint, though it'd be sad to see.

That lunch I had a month or three ago was very good, with lots of potential of being better. Hope they solve their crisis, soon.

Kanpai Snack Bar

I think waiting three months to go to a new venue, so they can iron out the kinks and you can maximize your restaurant dollar, is entirely fair.

FWIW, when I go to a newly-opened joint, I go with a different set of expectations. I go, knowing that I'm taking a chance by going too early, but I look for the potential of a place. What do they do really well? What don't they do well at all? Often, I'll speak to the manager and offer face-to-face feedback, good, bad, or ugly, which they tend to appreciate, provided the room isn't insanely busy.

It just bugs me when people jump all over a new venue before they've really had a chance to get on its feet.

Kanpai Snack Bar

Not to be a pain in the ass, but you're all aware that as of May 11, they've been open for just about two weeks?

I've never heard of a joint getting anything down pat in the first month or two. Certainly sounds like the venue has a lot of work still to do, but let's be fair here. Give them a chance to get on their feet and make some progress on the steep learning curve before panning them and telling people not to go because it sucks.

Listen, it's the internet and it's a free country, so you can do what you want. Still, I can't help but think that CH'rs have an interest in being fair in their assessments and opinions, and can recognize the difference between an established venue doing poorly, versus a beginning venue, which still hasn't had a chance to work out the inevitable kinds out, doing poorly.

What to do with tough skirt steaks

If you don't mind my asking, how did you cook it? How did you slice it?

As it happens, I tend to prefer the slicing steaks to the traditional cuts (skirt, hangar, tri-tip, and flank), but you need a little more finesse in the prep- either sous vide for a day or two, then sear, or a blazing-hot 700F+ sear, following, in either case, by a thin diagonal slice against the grain. Either way, you're looking at some tender meat.

Ooh, also, board sauces are EPIC with these cuts! If you don't know about it, google it, post-haste!

May 11, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Sous Vide Hamburgers

Bang on.

My only slight issue would be in the freezing. You buy the meat from the store and the clock begins to run. You take it home, grind it, throw it in the freezer, more time passes until it freezes. All the while the clock is ticking. Take it out of the freezer later, stick it in the sous vide, it defrosts, the temp raises, and the clock continues to tick. If there's contamination, you've got an issue given the extra time.

I adore SV burgers, and love the creamy, juiciness of them- but I make a point of buying them, grinding fresh, and then putting them immediately into the SVS to reduce risk.

Apr 28, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Granny Smith Apple Juice

Unless you get very lucky, you're going to need to make your own.

Don't need to spend two hundred bones on a juicer you're going to use once. Instead, get a membership to the Kitchen Library and just sign one out.

1st Brisket - Help!

Also, few better resources on brisket (and barbecue, generally) than here:

You're welcome. :)

Ribs: Fast or Slow?

There are fast techniques out there, even used by professionals- Rendezvous Ribs in Memphis is famous for getting a tender product out of higher temps.

Suspect the competitor used some variation of this:

Apr 14, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Sri Lankan in Toronto/Scarborough


I mean, seriously, what rock have I been under that I've never tried Lankan cooking before?

Stupid east-european Jewish background!

Oh, and if Hopper Hut is microwaved, pre-cooked, and/or reheated, it's the best microwaved, pre-cooked, and/or reheated food I've ever tasted, as in taking microwaved, pre-cooked, and/or reheated food to an undreamt-of pinnacle.

If that's pre-cooked, the noggin figuratively explodes trying to contemplate how good fresh-cooked Lankan must be.

Watery marinara sauce w fresh tomatoes

Adding a good bit of tomato paste will also help thicken things up. It's an essential part of my "quick" (i.e.: 1 hr, instead of 3-4) sauce.

Apr 13, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Sri Lankan in Toronto/Scarborough

So following on the heels of the recent publicity that Scarborough's recently been getting for its food (if not food scene, which, in my opinion, is a major, major bonus), some friends and I did an impromptu Scarborough food crawl- 7 venues in 8 hours, from 1 pm onwards. Some mediocre joints; some colossal hits- and one of the hits was Hopper Hut for Sri Lankan. Funny enough, I'd never had Sri Lankan before.

Hopper Hut was magnificent, incredible, unbelievable. As stuffed as I am still this morning, I'd go back, right now, as in immediately. Got it and adored it.

So here's my question: I live off the Danforth just east of Pape, and when I think of South Asian, I think of Little India and I have my picks. When it comes to Sri Lankan, I have no idea where the better places are- though I'm keen to find out.

I'll happily trek out to The Scarb go back to Hopper Hut any day of the week, but are there other better choices out there?? Keen to find out!!!

Israeli restaurants in Toronto or North York?

Old thread, but for the record, I could live off of a combination of Me Va Me and Sababa (the grocery hot table, not the restaurant itself), indefinitely.

Best places to buy groceries in Toronto?

If you're heading up to see your folks in Richmond Hill from the Annex, you'll likely be taking Allen Road northbound. Add Highland Farms (or it might be a Coppa- they just recently split), at Dufferin, just north of Finch, to your list.

While I now go to the Scarborough location, the stores are nice and big, have tremendous variety, are very reasonably priced, and have lots of high-quality (and tough to find) meat and produce that you'd have to search for, otherwise- particularly Italian varieties of produce and product.

Oh, and I really couldn't call myself an east-sider if I didn't put in a good word for the St. Lawrence Market, even though it's about as west-east (or east-west, as you prefer) as you can possibly get!

Cornstarch Steaks for Grilling


The science may speak for itself, but grillers, by and large, are sentimental types. Whether sous-vide, pan-and-oven, afterburner by way of bbq chimney starter, or plain old fashioned tossing a piece of cow on a grill, I suspect most would agree that the only thing that goes on a steak is seasoning. Right or wrong, it's a sense of pride in technique and pride in product- even if it's horribly over or undercooked. This is my meat, and I prepared it, right or wrong- no tricks or shortcuts involved.

I stand to be corrected, but that's my learned impression.

The popularity of Swiss Chalet seems to be waning in the GTA. Thoughts?

Overcooked rotisserie chicken is overcooked- but man, they must put crack in the chalet sauce. That stuff is dynamite.

The easiest possible cherry dessert

My thoughts, too. Super simple, super impressive.

Sometimes, there's no school like the Old School.

Apr 02, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Has anyone ever tried weighing flour to test the weight vs volume relationship?

When I have a recipe that goes by volume and not weight, I measure dry ingredients like flour by way of scoop and level method. It's more or less "accurate", though it certainly helps to know what kind of consistency of dough you're looking for.

Mar 26, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Has anyone ever tried weighing flour to test the weight vs volume relationship?

Why test the relationship when you can watch a video of someone else doing it?

Making duck 'ham'

Again, I hang mine in my downstairs cupboard. Whilst I have a hygrometer for other applications, I don't even bother when it comes to cured duck breast.

Even at its biggest, you're looking at less than a pound of total weight, pre-hang. In one week's time, you're going to get moisture loss, but it's not enough time to have humidity factor into it. That's why it's the easiest thing to cure, ever.

Just hang it somewhere away from light, forget about it, come back in a week's time.

Bought meat pre processed patties and nasty sulphuric flatulence side effect

Uh, I think it's just you, mate.

My Rx: invest in a good grinder and make your own!

Making duck 'ham'

I've made duck breast proscuitto literally dozens of time. It's super safe and super easy.

I use the Ruhlman method, but it's essentially the same- cure the meat in salt or salt/sugar combo for 24 hours, with whatever spices or flavouring you care to impart, then hang it for a week somewhere dark (I hang it in the crawl-space under my stairs), and done.

Re: use in other dishes, why not? In a week's time, you'll have your first one done. Taste it, think about what you want to make, and ask whether the flavours match. You'll do great!

Mar 23, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

If corned beef is chewy and hard to cut is it not done?

Underdone might not be the end of the world- not at all.

When it's underdone and cooled, the meat is really easy to carve thinly, since the connective collagen hasn't fully gelatinized. Funny enough, I had the same problem this past weekend and turned it to my advantage. Once cooled, I sliced my brisket very very thin, popped what I wanted for my sammich into a steamer and steamed it, over moderate heat, for about 30 mins, popped the rest of it into the fridge, and what I ended up with was beautiful!

Lots of delis steam their meat, too. I happily recommend it!

Mar 23, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Jewish deli...

The ironic part is that years ago, I had a running joke with the missus that we were going to open up a jewish fusion restaurant, doing modern riffs on classic jew-food, and call it Yids.

And now, years later, life imitates art.

Jewish deli...

Nope. With love and respect to all involved, I'm not spending money on something I can and do cook expertly at home. :)

Jewish deli...

To add slightly to the conversation, I'm gobsmacked that Ashkenaz "cuisine" has become the latest hipster trend. Yes, chopped liver is excellent, yes, pickled tongue is amazing, yes, home-cured and lightly-smoked herring or mackerel is a revelation, but seriously, this is now a trend? This is the Good Stuff I grew up on at home! How the hell is this now hipster food?

Geez, I hope the young crowd doesn't learn how to cook. I have a hard enough time getting my hands on chicken fat to render into schmaltz as is!

ISO: pâté & terrine cookbook

Hi, all!

The title pretty much sums it up. I'm aware of the Reynaud books, but the reviews I've seen haven't been exactly flattering. Love to get my hands on a fantastic, old school cookbook on this fascinating little corner of culinary traditions!

Thanks in advance!

Mar 16, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

dutch ovens vs. slow cookers

Suspect it might have to do with the heat distribution.

Though I've never owned a slow cooker, I'm guessing it's heated from an element located on the base of the machine, while a Dutch oven is heated from all sides, including above and below, with either the cast iron or ceramic providing good heat transference. Rather than heat unevenly from below, a Dutch oven transfers radiant heat from the oven to the entirety of the braise, resulting in a better end-product.

good rub for beef

Heh. Love me my Dalmatian Rub.

Gotta say though, after dozens and dozens of grilled steaks and smoked briskets, I've come to the conclusion that it's even better with a bit of garlic powder. Adds a savouriness to the meat that it'd otherwise lack.

But more than that, meh, it doesn't tend to add that much (fine, maybe a LITTLE BIT of cracked coriander is nice, from time to time) and it takes away from the beefiness.

Salt, pepper, garlic powder. Simple perfection.


YES Group Inc @ Woodbine/Steeles is a charcutier's dream. They service both industry and home cooks and if they don't literally have everything you could possibly want when it comes to the curing and processing of meat products, then they certainly figuratively have everything you could possibly want. They're also awesomely friendly to home cook dilettantes who show an interest in and want to play with meat and chemistry.

They call it by a different in-house name, but they carry both #1 and #2- and lots of it. No need to call ahead. They come in 1 kg bags, and are cheap as chips.

Sous Vide Roasts

Ironically, the 48 hour low-temp baths are unquestionably safer than shorter low-temp baths.

At the risk of preaching to the choir on the topic, the killing off of bacteria and other nasties is a function of not only temperature, but time exposed to the temperature. The FDA's old fashioned recommendation that meats be cooked to 160F is because at 160F, bacteria are killed in less than one second. The lower the temp, the more time is required to kill them off.

This makes sense. If you walk outside and the temp is 100 C, you're dead, instantly, your inside fluids boiling off in a most messy fashion. At 50 C, you're sweating profusely, even in the shade, and need to find some water within a reasonable amount of time, failing which you're going to die off, likely within the day. At 25 C, it's pretty pleasant out, though if you spend too much time out there, say a week or so, you'll die. Same principles apply to SV cooking.

A cursory googling online should come up with the bacteria-kill logarithm tables that say how long you should cook at what temp to make sure the food is safe to eat. There's also a few apps (at least for iPhone) that will do the work for you. Bottom line: it's perfectly safe- once you know what you're doing, and how to avoid problematic mistakes!