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Horchata

Elysabeth- I have feeling that the chance of infection from B. cereus would be unlikely. The microbe is often on uncooked rice, but from all my research it seems that cooking the rice, then letting the warm, moist rice gently sit at around 80 degrees is what spurs it's growth and causes illness. It's optimal growth temperatures are 80-90- above room temp-so any bacterial growth should be slowed. That said, I don't see a reason that you can't refrigerate it as it steeps-as long as you have your fridge temped to 40 degrees or below. Most households do not take the time to temp their fridges.

Mar 14, 2012
CarlyJayne in Recipes

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

I loved it! But I would never feed that to my kid! My mom was not a *horrible* cook. She just hated it.

All these recipes makes me feel for moms of another generation-especially now that I am the family chef. I have the internet, wonderful cookbooks and I live in a foodie town with pretty grocery stores and a husband that makes a decent living so I can afford good ingredients and not worry too much about blowing our grocery budget if something doesn't turn out. Even still- nightly dinner is sometimes a joy, and sometimes a tedious task. I got stuck with dinner duty because I'm a mom, but luckily I sort of like it. It must be horrible to hate cooking and eating and then have to make food for the family day in and day out.

Jan 31, 2012
CarlyJayne in Home Cooking

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

Oh mom! She still doesn't ever use salt and likes everything very bland and VERY well cooked (but she does use butter and cream!).

One of her more notable childhood dishes that she taught me to make in elementary school: Pizza Hotdogs.

Microwave one hotdog until hot.
Place in bun with a strip of string cheese.
Mix Ketchup with Italian Seasoning.
Add to hot dog
Enjoy your pizza hot dog. Which you will, because you are 10.

She also loved making lasagna as a soup-type dish. I think it had spaghetti sauce, ground beef, broken pieces of lasagna pasta and lots of cottage cheese. I am not sure when I learned how real lasagna was supposed to be made-but I did get a "pearls of wisdom" lecture about how people were silly to put all that work into making a layered dish when it tasted so much better served from a pot. I always hated that one. I reminded me of vomit. I couldn't eat it.

When I was 13 my mom had enough of cooking, Costco opened and from then on out it was frozen meals every night except Christmas and Easter.

Jan 30, 2012
CarlyJayne in Home Cooking

Using unflavored gelatin in a cheater broth...

JudiAU - Would you care to read the whole sentence: "in the shadow of ramen greatness" and take it in context please? I knew I wasn't going to get an elite product: I am not pretending to be a Japanese chef trained for decades. I am not hoping to become the woman from Tampopo churning out bowls of perfect soup on a street corner.

But what I made certainly stood up to what the fancy, new ramen shops that sell steaming bowls of ramen for $12.00 a pop serve. And it was WAY better than anything I've had from our crappy Japanese Ramen shops- and that made me REALLY happy. Not all of us live in towns with really good ramen-it's been the one thing I haven't been able to find in Portland.

So I dare you: I'll write the recipe/technique down and you can buy $10 in ingredients and make a bowl of cheater ramen in an hour and THEN I give you permission to be snobby about it. :)

My whole point to this post was to provide an answer to a question that NOT ONE person had a answer to. Most replies were similar to yours and it made me wonder: why are we going to turn away from culinary experimentation by getting locked into our own snobbery? How can we learn new things about cooking if we shut down ideas about how things are done because we will only do it the "right" way or we only let current trends guide our actions in the kitchen? I vote we try more and judge less.

Jan 25, 2012
CarlyJayne in Home Cooking

Using unflavored gelatin in a cheater broth...

I think it depends on how long it sits. I had about two pints of broth and I added the gelatin to "taste" and served it immediately. .5 packet was okay, but the whole packet was better. But if I had to keep around for a while I think less would have been better.

Jan 25, 2012
CarlyJayne in Home Cooking

Using unflavored gelatin in a cheater broth...

I was trying to do some research on this last night as I was putting together a batch of "cheater" ramen (A Test Kitchen style Tonkatsu that involves making a quick broth with chicken broth, ground pork ribs, garlic, ginger and onions). I didn't have any homemade stock on hand and I had to use boxed stock. I was hoping to create a dish that would at least be shadow of ramen greatness to ease my unending first trimester desires for noodle soups...
Since I was taking so many shorrtcuts, I wondered if I could simulate the viscous quality of really good ramen by adding a bit of Knox...and if so how much should I add?
I looked on google, that led me to the CH message boards where the general answer is "why do that, just use chicken feet!".
So I tried it and I have two announcements:
First is that the Test Kitchen recipe makes the best Ramen to be had at home in less than an hour. It sort of leans on the Miso for the flavor (the stock isn't complete enough to stand on it's own)- but if I ordered it at a local spot and I had a bowl of what I made-I would definitely go back.
Two- adding a packet of Knox elevated the stock to new heights- it made the stock viscous and rich. Tasting the broth before and after the stock was like night and day: it went from being "pretty tasty" to "holy cow I can't believe I made this in my kitchen."

So- if you are stuck using canned/ boxed broth in a quick recipe and it needs that bit if silky ooomph and you have no chicken feet on hand for such emergencies- a bit of unflavored gelatin might actually do the trick.

Jan 24, 2012
CarlyJayne in Home Cooking

Servers Drinking on the Job

The customer should move to Oregon where drinking while serving alcohol can carry stiff fines and the loss of your liquor license. After 15 years in the industry I have never had a serving job where shift drinking was allowed. It might happen a bit behind the scenes (a shot hiding in a covered container), and servers would come in stoned quite a bit...but it was more annoying than anything. Especially in a team environment because the stoned guy was the weak link- no one would want to work with them. I guess honestly- serving is a job like any other and if you want to do your best ( and get the better sections, better tips, have happier, less cranky customers) then you treat your job like any professional would.

Jan 18, 2012
CarlyJayne in Features

Simple things you can't get right

My frustration with pastry is all the rules. I have worked the counter end of several bakeries and restaurants with talented chefs and I learned at least a half dozen techniques for pastry: smooshing the butter in, freezing and grating it in, using a food processor, layering butter and dough. There has to about 100 ways to make pastry.
After a while it gets frustrating and you don't even want to make pie. I settled on Rulman's ratio recipe because the super high butter/fat content makes the crust taste awesome even if it turns out like cardboard. I also race to get it done as fast as possible because I hate making it. I use as little water as possible and that seems to have helped- as well as letting the dough rest in plastic before rolling it. Perfect crust is impossible. Just use a lot of butter and it will taste good. Use lard and it will probably be flake. It's hard to toughen a lard pie crust.

Jan 16, 2012
CarlyJayne in Home Cooking

Kid friendly with food that doesn't suck in Portland?

I know the owner of the country cat-he has two kids and encourages parents to take their little ones out. I was really impressed with Laurelhurst Market when we went with our 11 month old for my husband's birthday. When she lost her patience and we had to take turns holding her outside and eat in shifts they actually bought my dinner for me because it was cold by the time I got to eat it. That's pretty amazing!
The summer is easier because the patios are always easier with the kids. I find I take my now 18 month old to those sushi go round places when we just need to eat but we can't handle the full dining experience.
The food isn't superb, but Hopworks has great beer and a nice little play area in the dining room. I really do like their chicken strips and Jo does too- it makes for a nice stress free night with her.

Jan 13, 2012
CarlyJayne in Metro Portland

Sweet Chile–Chicken Rice Bowl

I have a peanut allergy and can't eat East Asian cuisine, I have to do my best by cooking it myself but not really having anyway of knowing if it tastes "right" unless my husband tells me.
This recipe was a little daunting, but once I got the shopping out the the way-it was so crazy easy. I actually set a timer while I made it: From unloading the grocery bags to dinner on the table: 50 minutes!
The marinade goes together in less than 5 minutes, toss in your chicken and stick in fridge. Get your rice prepped up and as you wait for the water to bowl start throwing in the ingredients into the blender for the sauce. Let the rice steam while you blend the sauce. Add oil to a pan, as it heats slice your shallots. Fry, drain-move pan out the the way and let it cool. Boil water for steaming the broccoli-cut it rough, steam for a few minutes until done, remove from heat-dump water-replace with fresh and reheat for poaching your eggs. As the water comes to a boil, heat a large iron fry pan-I used coconut oil on high heat-and cook your chicken until its cooked through with some char on it. When done-add eggs to poach in your boiling/simmering water while the rice goes into the bowl, then the chicken, then the broccoli, then the eggs and last-that really awesome sauce. Super fun, action packed cooking. Hubby said it tasted "right" and he was pretty impressed! Yay me!
Bonus-if you are cooking for two, you can keep the remaining chicken marinating for lunch/dinner the next day and this makes a ton of sauce that would be good for a lot of things...
Don't be afraid of the ingredients-and if you can't find a certain chili-move on. it will be okay. The sweet chili sauce provides a sturdy background and it seems that everything you add will enhance the flavor-but a few missing ingredients won't really ruin it-at least I didn't think so. I used the Korean Chili, but left out the dried anaheim and jalapeneo. I actually totally forgot to pick up ginger and it was still good!
Basically, this recipe is "in the rotation" and despite it's extensive ingredient list-it is well worth the shopping effort and I feel a bit more confident about making Asian food at home. Nothing is worse than going through the effort of finding ingredients and making a complex dish and having it turn out gross!
I never thought i'd see people on Chow complain about the quantity of ingredients in a recipe...what's up with that?

Jan 10, 2012
CarlyJayne in Recipes