lamb_da_calculus's Profile

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Roasting tomatoes and tomatillos

OK, it looks like aluminum foil is the thing to use. But as a follow-up question, I thought aluminum was supposed to be too reactive for use with acidic stuff. It looks like I'm wrong and, even if it is reactive, it's not on a scale or at a speed quick enough to be a problem in everyday use. Right?

Roasting tomatoes and tomatillos

Why would spray help with the acidity issue? Or is that not as big a deal as I think it is?

Sep 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Tempeh for the first time

I can't help much with where to find it, but I like to toss cubed tempeh in olive oil, salt, cumin seeds, oregano, and pimenton and roast at 400 for about 20 minutes. Mix into tabbouleh, drizzle on tahini, spoon on a little yogurt, and finish with sesame seeds. Good, healthy, and not particularly difficult.

Roasting tomatoes and tomatillos

I've been trying many Mexican recipes (from a Rick Bayless book) recently and almost all of them involve somehow blackening tomatoes or tomatillos. I use a broiler and this itself isn't a problem, but some liquid inevitably seeps out of whatever I'm charring, burns, and then hardens onto the baking sheet I use in the process. Is there any way to avoid this problem, which takes a while to clean up and frequently sets off the smoke alarm? I would think doing it in foil wouldn't work due to acidity, and since I have an electric stove fire is probably out of the question (unless I buy a torch I guess).

Thanks!

Sep 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Putting food on the table. How did your Mom do it?

I'd like to give you one, but I've deliberately avoided learning any more detail about it because it's nice to have something she can make and I can't.

Putting food on the table. How did your Mom do it?

She worked full-time once I was late in elementary school and cooked a lot on the weekends and froze things to heat up during the week (I actually follow a similar practice now that I live on my own). Think things like stewed Indian chicken and then a few Indian vegetable dishes (we're Indian). I didn't really like Indian food as a kid and ate a lot of cooked dry pasta with jarred tomato sauce - probably the only reliably processed thing we ate apart from cereal or frozen waffles, although we'd eat frozen ravioli or box mac and cheese a few times a month - and spiced cutlets made of ground turkey with potatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and pepper (and maybe cumin?) that she'd make up in large batches, freeze, and portion out each night accordingly. Or we'd eat something less complicated, like spiced and fried catfish with rice and yogurt. She was very good at throwing down mostly unprocessed and nutritionally balanced food at a regular time every night. I have basically no memories of her failing to do this. Takeout was an occasional treat and not eaten most weeks, but I was still an annoyingly picky eater.

In retrospect, I was probably spoiled compared to other kids. I try to cook for both my parents when I visit now (I'm 22 - none of this was very long ago), although she still (thankfully) makes massive quantities of the aforementioned cutlets in preparation whenever that happens.

Braising, butchering whole rabbit

Thanks both of you. I ended up reserving the loins and belly flaps and braising the rest. The loin I just seared for a few minutes and then rested in the braising liquid for a few minutes before serving. The flaps I simmered for 45 minutes in chicken stock with a bouquet garni, then floured and refrigerated. Once cold I cut into strips and fried in the same pan as the searing loin. It was sort of like rabbit bacon. Really happy with it overall. I'll add the Zuni cafe cookbook to my list. I've heard of it too many times to keep avoiding it.

Sep 06, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Dried vs. Fresh Hoja Santa

I'm planning on making Rick Bayless' "Oaxacan Green Mole", and the recipe calls for pureeing parsley, epazote, hoja santa, and broth at the end and mixing it into a hot stew that's been removed from heat. I have fresh epazote but only dried hoja santa. Would dried hoja santa work? My guess is no, as the dried hoja santa is fairly brittle and it seems odd to add a dried herb at the end of cooking. Plus the dried hoja santa is a green-black that seems like it would ruin the emerald color of the mole.

Bayless suggests a cup of "roughly chopped green tops from fresh fennel bulb" as a hoja santa substitute. Assuming "tops" means fronds, it sounds like a lot - do 2 leaves of hoja santa really pack the same flavor as a full cup of fronds?

Thanks!

Sep 06, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Mistakes, I've made a few

I actually use another frying pan as a weight. It's carbon steel and heavy so it usually works pretty well, and the bottom is flat.

Aug 24, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Cookware

Braising, butchering whole rabbit

I have a recipe, "lapin aux olives" from the Les Halles Cookbook, that calls for braising 4 rabbit legs. I have a whole rabbit, since that's what I could find in my area, and I'm not sure how to modify the recipe accordingly. As far as I can tell, after breaking down the rabbit I'll have two legs, two loins, a spine/ribcage for stock, and some sort of front quarter that I don't know how to use.

So the first question is: do I need to modify the braising time by cut? I'm thinking of rabbit as being roughly analogous to chicken, in which case the loins would overcook faster. Second question: what do I do with that front quarter?

I'm using this video as a guide for butchering the rabbit, so you can skip to the end of it to see the body parts I'm talking about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhlXg...

Thanks!

Aug 24, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Mistakes, I've made a few

I have a nice $80 Japanese hand-hammered Gyuto that I've used once in 7 months because I don't know how to sharpen a Gyuto or find someone who does.

Aug 21, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Cookware

Would you give up cooking or eating?

Say you're given two options and must choose one. Yes, this is a silly hypothetical, but I like silly hypotheticals.

Option 1: Give up eating. Imagine that all of your nutritional needs are magically taken care of without food, and you can eat at most about an ounce of food per day (in this scenario, really just enough for you to taste the food you cook and make sure it works).

Option 2: Give up cooking. Eat whatever you like, but if you spend more than 10 minutes cooking in a kitchen in one day, the kitchen explodes (in this scenario, really just enough time for you to make basic food but not really cook - the 10 minutes counts cutting, mise en place, etc.). Or something less violent if you like. Whatever, the point is that you can't spend more than 10 minutes cooking.

I'd take Option 1 no problem. Cooking's an important creative outlet for me and I really enjoy sharing my cooking with others (assume for this hypothesis that everyone knows which option you chose and nobody is creeped out by your inability to eat your own cooking).

Curious what others choose.

AB's Tokyo Nights

I'm not sure the people Bourdain talked to are wholly representative of the entire Japanese population.

Avatars -- describe? u/l a pic?

It's a lambda. My name is actually a (bad) joke on lambda calculus.

Jul 16, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Site Talk

Books for beginning a cookbook collection

I don't think any book has taught me more about cooking than the Flavor Bible. Even though it has no recipes.

Most underused spices in home cooking?

I have white pepper and occasionally use it for fish but deep down I can't really see how it's any better than black pepper. If anything it seems like a harsher and less complex version of black pepper. What really is it good for?

Jul 12, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Most underused spices in home cooking?

Agreed, I have some Spanish pimenton I like to mix into scrambled eggs fried with hazelnut flour, northern beans, saffron, red bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and I always feel strange throwing in at least a tablespoon. But that's what it seems to take to work.

Instant Breakfast Cereal

You could also soak muesli and briefly microwave it.

Foodie or Gourmet?

I like cooking more than eating. Call me a cookie I guess.

Pho Attack

I had this happen way back around Christmas. Bowl of beef pho followed a few minutes later by compressing sensation around the eyes and racing heartbeat. I lay down in the dark and drank a couple of bottles of water and it was gone in a half hour, but it was bizarre when it happened.

I'm a lot more willing to blame salt than MSG. I salt my own cooking pretty lightly and eat out maybe once a month so pho is probably the saltiest thing I ate last year. I also don't eat much sugar outside of fruits and vegetables so that may have compounded it. Plus I've made dashi from kombu and bonito flakes plenty of times and I would think if I was allergic to MSG that would have done something too, but it's always been fine. I will point out that I salt dashi pretty lightly too, though.

Oddly enough I went on a pho-making binge back in March and made about 5 different versions and never had the experience again.

Speed when reducing sherry

It says "dry" on the bottle. It doesn't taste very sweet.

Jun 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Speed when reducing sherry

I wanted the flavor of maple syrup and was also unsure if sherry would thicken without it. But to be honest I'm not sure how well that maple flavor survived.

The source of some confusion may be that I'm comparing this to say a reduction of balsamic vinegar (or any gastrique I guess). Many instructions say to reduce balsamic vinegar slowly over low heat for an hour or two, and it only ever thickens because it's got sugar in it naturally. By comparison the one time I tried reducing apple cider vinegar it just simmered away into nothing instead of thickening because the sugar content is too low. Similarly I thought sherry would have so little natural sugar that it would just reduce to nothing rather than thicken, so I added maple syrup. Is this incorrect?

Jun 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? June 2014 edition! [OLD]

Somewhat relevant: I recently lost a couple of eBay auctions, one for Anne Sophie Pic's "Le Livre Blanc" and the other for David Chang's "Momofuku". This is generally how I buy cookbooks. I got Mai Pham's "Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table" for $6 and Aduriz's "Mugaritz" for $15 this way. The "Le Livre Blanc" loss was especially annoying. The book looks gorgeous.

Jun 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Speed when reducing sherry

I found a bottle of sherry and thought it had a strong fig taste so I tried reducing it with maple syrup. In practice this meant I just brought it to a boil uncovered and waited until maybe a quarter was left. It ended up being tart and somewhat darkly fruity with a maple sweetness. Not terrible for a first attempt at using it, but this made me wonder: what is the difference between reducing this by boiling and reducing it by a long, slow simmer? I don't imagine they're equivalent. My instinct is that gentler heat better preserves nuances of flavor but I'm really just guessing.

Jun 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Bored Palette! Need new recipe ideas.

Just curious, how do you get a job as a personal chef if you have no idea how to cook?

Bored Palette! Need new recipe ideas.

Oh, and if you can't buy cookbooks you can still probably check them out from libraries, right?.

Jun 09, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Large number of large scallops?

Just wondering, are you saying that you get the big scallops and then cut them up for seafood pasta? Why not just get the smaller (and cheaper) calico/bay scallops? Or do those taste different?

Jun 08, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Bored Palette! Need new recipe ideas.

One better way to do this with "ethnic cooking" might be to find a devoted cookbook for a given cuisine. Not only will this tell you about more than 5-10 dishes in a cuisine, looking through it (and better yet cooking through it) will hopefully expose you to new techniques and ingredients and flavors that you'll be able to incorporate into your own repertoire, and that ultimately offers much more flexibility than just finding new recipes in a vacuum.

Rick Bayless' Mexican cookbooks are pretty good for branching out beyond tacos and enchiladas if you'd like to do that.

Participle Placement in Recipes

Do you pay any attention to where participles are placed in recipes? For example, does "500g trimmed leeks" mean something different to you than "500g leeks, trimmed" (the participle here being "trimmed")? Or "2c sifted flour" vs "2c flour, sifted"? In general I try to match where the participle goes because "500g trimmed leeks" seems to imply that the recipe calls for 500g of usable leeks whereas "500g leeks, trimmed" seems to start with 500g and end up with, what, 400-450g after trimming?

Yeah, this is somewhat obsessive and possibly irrelevant. But I'm curious.

Jun 07, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Using chive blossoms

Second the suggestion for eggs. I think they work well in a "quiet" preparation like the Daniel Patterson egg I saw on Mind of a Chef last year. Basically just beat an egg, make a whirlpool of boiling water, drop in the egg and wait 10 seconds, then drain and serve.

Jun 06, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking