JDAWG's Profile

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What's for Dinner #373 - Summer Celebrations

Last night was dinner at my parents'. My mother bought two huge salmon fillets which was WAY too much for the three of us, especially considering I brought shrimp too! I cut the salmon down into portions and after everyone was full I got take home six big pieces. I'm not sure what to do with all of it.

about 2 hours ago
JDAWG in Home Cooking

A guy walks into the movie theater with his own sandwich...

I have the same problem with people who treat the office workspace as a dining room, bringing their smelly lunches, with plates and utensils into the same space where a few feet away people are making phone calls and trying to do work.

The reality is if you are not eating the food, it smells disgusting, no matter what it is, always.

1 day ago
JDAWG in Not About Food

Thomas Keller's simple roast chicken: how to preserve crispiness?

I agree with the others not to cover the chicken once it comes out of the oven. That will just cause steam to condense on the skin, making it soggy.

I also think 15 minutes is too long to let it rest. There is a trade off between letting meat rest and having crispy, crackling crust/skin.

Unless you re-crisp with a blow torch as JRC14 says below, you should aim to serve as quickly as possible after coming out of the oven: 5 to 10 minutes maximum.

Yes, some of the juices won't have redistributed properly, but that isn't the end of the world if you haven't overcooked the meat on the whole.

I think the concept of "letting meat rest" has been taken to an unnecessary extreme lately. It's as though some people think if you cut into unrested meat Niagara Falls will erupt draining out every drop of moisture.

80% of having a juicy meat is simply making sure you don't overcook it. Brining, resting, etc..., are the bonus 20% that are nice to haves, but not the important parts.

1 day ago
JDAWG in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #372 - The Hot & Cold Edition [Old--through 7/2/15]

Breakfast for dinner! "Toads in the Hole*", bacon, steamed spinach, and baked tomatoes with basil.

*I've gotten flack for calling this "Toad in the Hole" before. Apparently "Toad in the Hole" is something completely different in Europe than in Canada: sausages baked in pastry with gravy. My understanding is Europeans call this egg dish "eggs in a basket" or "eggs in a nest" instead.

I am interested to know how this discrepancy was created, and where geographic lines are drawn on what it is called. I learned to call it Toad in the Hole from my mother, who learned it from her mother, who was raised in Detroit in the 1930's, before moving to southern Ontario. The Egg Industry of Canada website has a recipe for Toad in a Hole that is also simply an egg fried in a slice of bread with a hole cut out. Wikipedia's entry for Toad in the Hole mentions only the sausage baked in pastry version, common in the UK.

What do you call an egg fried in a hollow slice of bread?



What's for Dinner #371 - School's Out for Summer Edition [through June 28, 2015]


And I should expand on my comment about the salt in the tomatoes. You have to be really careful with salt in this since a lot of water evaporates as it sits in the oven and the end product is much more concentrated. If you salt it to taste at the beginning, it will be too salty at the end. Use a light touch when seasoning.

Jun 28, 2015
JDAWG in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #371 - School's Out for Summer Edition [through June 28, 2015]

It's a recipe from Serious Eats. I make it mostly just as written and it works out very well each time.


I omit the fish sauce as I don't usually have any. I tried subbing that for worcestershire sauce once and it was nice, but it's fine without it too.

If I have an almost empty bottle of wine around I will dump it in at at the last 20 minutes.

While it recommends you use canned San Marzano's imported from Italy, I just use regular canned tomatoes (the ones without added salt) and it still turns out fantastic.

Jun 28, 2015
JDAWG in Home Cooking

Chowfind? Fiddes wholesale produce - Hamilton

Has anyone shopped at Fiddes on Ewen Road in Hamilton?

Fiddes is a local wholesaler of produce, but they open up to the public on Saturdays from 10 - 3, opening up the cases so you can take as much or as little as you want.

You just walk through the warehouse (there's a main room and a cool room), collect what you want to buy, and take it to the front room where they tell you how much it costs. There are no prices listed anywhere, but I have found every time it ends up costing less than at the Fortinos one block away. It's also good quality produce, I see very few, if any, bruised or damaged items.
They also have a lot of fresh herbs which are definitely cheaper and better quality than what you get in a store. This week they had rosemary, thyme, huge bundles of chives, parsely, and more.

NB: They take cash only and you have to bring your own bags.

It can be a bit hard to find the first time. It's at the border of a light industrial and residential area and kind of looks like a regular house. There's only one small sign out front. In a way that makes it fun. It's like your going to a secret store where everything costs less.

Here's a link to their location on Google Streetview.

Despite the outer appearance, this is not a dinky operation, they have dozens of cases of every vegetable: tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers, broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots, potatoes, everything. It gets quite crowded about noon. They also have fruits, and berries, and as I mentioned nice fresh herbs.

What's for Dinner #371 - School's Out for Summer Edition [through June 28, 2015]

That sounds amazing. Olives, cauliflower, capers, and anchovies all have such strong flavours, but each one is unique so I can see it working well. Do you add lemon at all?

I wonder how this would be mixed with some penne or farfalle; maybe a fresh cheese; and perhaps some raw diced red bell pepper for colour and texture; all served as a cold summer salad.

Can you link me to the recipe or let me know which book it is in? Google is only retrieving recipes that look similar, but which I doubt are the original.

Jun 27, 2015
JDAWG in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #371 - School's Out for Summer Edition [through June 28, 2015]

It's raining today and it's much cooler than anytime in the past two weeks. I decided it was a good day to turn the oven on and make some slow cooked tomato sauce.

The picture is from when it went in the oven 20 minutes ago. I'll probably leave it in for 4 hours or so. I can't wait to pour it over some pasta for dinner.

turnip v. rutabaga - what do you call it?

I just watched a video of Gordon Ramsay where he used "swedes" to make a soup. I had no idea what a swede was until I saw it and said "That's a turnip!"

Here in Ontario, Canada, as confirmed many years ago below in the comments, we call all varieties turnips. I believe they are available all year round, though I have only eaten them in the fall and winter, usually mashed like potatoes with butter and sometimes some 18% if we're feeling indulgent.

I'm still not exactly sure what is the difference between a rutabaga, turnip, and a swede.

Jun 15, 2015
JDAWG in General Topics

I have a friend who rarely puts food in the fridge who is still alive .

In general, assuming the containers are resealed or covered somehow, I don't have a concern about something pickled or canned. My understanding is the salt, acids, and preservatives block growth of bacteria very well.

For meat, it depends if it's cooked or raw.

Raw meat will have bacterial growth even at room temperature, but it doesn't become dangerous in just hours. I am fine with overnight, but not much longer. Cooking will kill bacteria, but the danger remains because as some bacteria consume meat they produce compounds that are toxic to humans, and those are not rendered inert by cooking. That is often the real cause of food poisoning.

For cooked meat, it depends on the moisture content and time passed. Have you ever heard of the famous years old McDonald's hamburger that never gets moldy or rotten? It's simply because it's completely dehydrated, and the nasty stuff requires water to live, just like us. If there's little or none in the meat, nothing happens. Now a thick stake, cooked rare, and left to sit at room temperature; I would be wary of that after 24 hours.

It's funny to see this as I just had pizza for breakfast that was left in the box on the kitchen counter overnight!

Jun 06, 2015
JDAWG in General Topics

Brining rant...

I do the under the skin method and leave the outside with salt only as I find anything else will scorch. Lift up the skin starting at the edge of the breast and thighs, and carefully work your fingers around until there's a nice big pocket. It's not super delicate, you can stretch out a nice big space to slather in some delicious seasonings. I like to put a mix of butter, lemon juice, herbs, pepper, and garlic.

When it's under the skin it has protection from the direct heat and flame of the grill so there is no chance of the fresh herbs and garlic scorching and turning bitter.

As for brining chicken, I usually don't bother. 90% of getting a moist and flavourful cooked chicken is getting the temperature right. Use a thermometer liberally, and don't worry about losing juices by poking the pieces. You will loose far more by over cooking. Take it off the grill when it passes 150F, and let it rest.

May 26, 2015
JDAWG in Home Cooking

Which Dutch cheese is best for melting in my baked penne?

Update! I found the advice somewhat conflicting.

I ended up using a smoked gouda in the middle layer of the dish, and edam on the top, with a dash of parm. Both the edam and gouda were made in Wisconsin, and bought on recommendation from the cheese shop owner after explaining what I was using them for. Price was a factor as cheese is ridiculously expensive here due to the government cartel (Ontario, Canada) 180 grams of each cost a total of $16. To get imported dutch cheese would have been several dollars more. This was just not worth it for the circumstances.

However it turned out fantastic. Both cheeses melted very well and did not get too stringy. The eadm on top did brown a little bit and was great.

May 18, 2015
JDAWG in Cheese

Which Dutch cheese is best for melting in my baked penne?

Hello Chowhounders,

In a few days I will be making a baked pasta dish with roasted eggplant, peppers, and sausage, in a light tomato sauce, plus an internal layer, and a topping of melted cheese to provide that ooey-gooey goodness factor.

It's not an uncommon recipe, except for this one item. For a really unusual reason that I won't waste your time on, I must only use Dutch cheese.

I am well aware that not all cheeses melt well, so I want to pick the best Dutch cheese. The only one I know well is Gouda, which I understand is a decent melting cheese. Are there better one's to consider? Are there one's I should avoid? Should I use regular gouda, or smoked gouda?

All help is appreciated.

Apr 27, 2015
JDAWG in Cheese

Simple is Best

I love the idea of pickled beets with the beats with beans. Perhaps adding some diced pickles/cornichons would be a nice crunchy aspect.

Apr 24, 2015
JDAWG in Home Cooking

Any Licks left in the GTA?

I'm curious about something on that site. It lists three "services" offered by the stores. 'Drive Thru' and 'Party Room' are obvious (despite the grating spelling 'thru'); but what is "barter for retail"?

According to the legend, only one of the stores actually offers this.

Apr 21, 2015
JDAWG in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

As a foodie, what do you do for lunch during the week?

I work in the center of a big city and I don't find the options to be very good there either. I work in an office tower that is connected to a dozen others through underground walkways. Each one has its own food court, meaning several dozen options in walking distance, but I have yet to find anything worth my time or money.

I recently tried a place in the building next door that had gourmet sandwiches for takeout and it was terrible. I wrote about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7821...

I know of some places on the street level that do really good takeout, however, I guess because a lot of people feel the way I do, they are usually rammed at lunch. Some regularly have 15 minute lineups out the door. I don't have time to waste to walk there, then wait in line, wait for my order, then walk back.

I think it's just the factor of it being so expensive to rent space in this area that only option is either fast food chain; or for independent stores, low quality food at too high prices.

I now just always bring leftovers to enjoy. I have noticed since I started almost always bringing my own food that I am much more aware of how salty and greasy the takeout food is whenever I eat it.

Apr 19, 2015
JDAWG in General Topics

Don't let your Debit/Credit Card out of your sight when dining. .

I am a Canadian in Toronto. Debit cards are ubiquitous here. Cash transactions are now very rare. I often carry no cash at all for several days at a time. It is very rare to find even any store that does not accept debit cards. This is perhaps the reason there was no resistance to abolishing the Canadian penny coin a few years ago.

Chip/Pin cards were rolled out here for credit and debit at least 10 years ago, and you simply cannot get one without it anymore.

But now we have moved on and debit/credit cards also have the RFID transmitters. For transactions under $100.00 you can simply tap the display of the debit machine with your card and it will process the transaction instantly without requesting a PIN. It saves time and is very convenient.

Apr 16, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food

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

Good call. This is definitely their problem. Almost every grocery store, except No Frills, sells roasted chickens now plus a huge variety of sides. Also they have other entrees for that one person in the family who doesn't feel like chicken. They have salad bars and bakery items that offer ten times the variety available at Swiss Chalet. Also there is the standard grocery store selection of desert if you want it.

I was just thinking about this issue the other day when I was reading about restaurant owners complaining they will take away their business, and it dawned on me that grocery stores selling massive amounts of prepared foods, which is becoming increasingly better in quality and selection, have already are taken away more of their business than food truck ever will.

Lots of the stores now even have sections for you to sit down and eat there.

Apr 15, 2015
JDAWG in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

What's for Dinner #359 - the April Showers Edition [through April 15, 2015]

Can an empanada expert tell me more about why they are deep fried and what regions this variety originates from?

I have traveled in South America to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and in that time I only encountered baked empanadas. Back here at home there are two empanada restaurants I have visited, and they also both offered only baked varieties of empanadas.

However a few months ago I encountered a food truck selling "Colombian style empanadas". I spotted it right at a moment where I was starving, so I ordered two. I was completely surprised to find them deep fried. I didn't like them as much as the baked varieties I had eaten, though they were inexpensive, and I wouldn't judge universally based on one order from one food truck.

How common are these? Is it only Colombian's who deep fry them?

Apr 14, 2015
JDAWG in Home Cooking

I'm the turtle at the table .


Sounds like what happens when I visit Quebec City. Except it's my own damn country.

Apr 07, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food

Best places to buy groceries in Toronto?

I find No Frills are the most variable store in quality and selection. I guess it's because they are franchises. My local No Frills at Parliament and Carlton in Toronto is below average, though the nearest other location at Sherbourne and Wellesley is worse.

Apr 07, 2015
JDAWG in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

I wish I was important enough to have someone stand in line all day behind idiots who have all day to spend standing in line.

Apr 06, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food

Best places to buy groceries in Toronto?

I shop at the FreshCo at Parliament and Dundas. It's a new store in a relatively new condo building (opened about 4 years ago). They appear to turn over their produce quickly, every two or three days it is sold out and replaced, which is one of the most important factors in the freshness of the selection.

I'm the turtle at the table .

Ya. I was just cranky when I wrote that. Sorry.

Apr 06, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

I could get two minutes worth of stuff done in two minutes. And it's two minutes per person. So when there's five people in line, that's an extra 10 minutes standing doing nothing but watching lazy idiots.

Apr 06, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food

Best places to buy groceries in Toronto?

You mentioned getting produce at No Frills.

Since you have left, Sobeys launched a competitor to No Frills called Fresh Co and I find it has equally good deals on basic produce.

Apr 06, 2015
JDAWG in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

A big part of the problem is that the payment portion of checking out has become so obnoxiously long that it negates the advantage of these express checkouts entirely.

People are asked if they have various rewards/air miles cards and they then fumble through their purse/wallet for 30 seconds looking for it.

Then there's the time wasting chip/pin debit cards that seem to confound so many people, despite the fact they have used it hundreds of times. The worst is people who have the RFID instant read cards but still use the chip/pin instead.

Then there's cash-back on debit which of course requires counting out the money twice.

And now a lot of stores have these charity drives where they stop and ask you if you want to donate to X which takes up even more time.

Some people use up two minutes of the cashiers time just to buy one item.

I swear most people lose 20 IQ points when entering a grocery store.

Apr 06, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food

I'm the turtle at the table .

I've heard this before and it's pretty grating. Why should I care what they do in Madrid? I'm not in Spain. Why is this used as some sort of benchmark?

I'm in Canada. For a good chunk of the winter the sun rises at 9:00AM and sets about 3:30PM. It's already been dark for five hours by the time some Spaniard decides he wants to eat. IDGAF what they do. I can't sit out on a patio watching the sunset while eating tapas at 11:00 at night because the sun set 6 hours earlier, it's -30, and I have to get up to go to work in 5 hours. Why does "in Spain they eat dinner at 3 in the morning" have to be mentioned so often?

I'm the turtle at the table .

I have a similar difficulty with a twist. I have some friends who are extraordinarily late eaters. They are a couple, now with one two year old. I used to work with the mother, and we've remained friends and I visit occasionally.

This came up again last Friday when I went to visit. We had planned my visit well in advance, and decided to order Chinese food from a place that has different dishes we all like.

She explained her husband was working late, and he would pick it up on the way home, arriving at about 6:30. That was fine by me as I would only arrive at their place for 6:00. I was expecting we would eat as soon as he arrived.

He indeed arrive at 6:30, and had the Chinese food with him, which he put on the counter and walked to the couch and sat down. I thought that was fine as maybe he wants 15 - 20 minutes rest before eating.

That 20 minutes turned into 45 minutes. Then when he finally got up it was to make dinner for their two year old. When he was done that, it was time for a beer for all of us. Another 30 minutes went by while we watched TV. Now it was now almost 8:00 and the food had been sitting on the counter. I was starving. Then they decided we should play some X-Box. I asked if they were hungry but the response was "not yet, it's too early". It was just after 9:00 when they finally opened up the food. Then they spent another 20 minutes getting out plates, cutlery, reheating, sorting it into bowls. It was 9:30, 3 hours after picking up the food when they were finally ready to eat. I was starving for some time, but by then I had in a weird way come full circle and lost my appetite. The food was cold and all the sauce congealed and gross.

I like going to visit them, but they always want me to come after work on a Friday. I could eat before hand, but I'd rather not pay for dinner twice. They live about a 45 minute train trip away from my place, so it's not like I can easily make or brake the plans; I have to commit to going. How do I broach this subject with them.

How do I deal with these guys?

Mar 31, 2015
JDAWG in Not About Food