lamb_da_calculus's Profile

Title Last Reply

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.

Aug 13, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in General Topics

AB's Tokyo Nights

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

Jul 18, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Food Media & News

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.

Jul 13, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking
1

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.

Jul 12, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking
1

Instant Breakfast Cereal

You could also soak muesli and briefly microwave it.

Jul 08, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in General Topics

Foodie or Gourmet?

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

Jun 28, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in General Topics
2

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.

Jun 25, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Not About Food

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?

Jun 09, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking
2

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.

Jun 08, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking
1

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

Learned from experience?

This is probably the most notable thing experience taught me. I burn things on the stove much less than I use to. More generally: be patient.

Jun 03, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Why do people find it so strange to take photos of your food?

I think people don't necessarily want to see a stream of photographs of food without choosing to do so. That's why I throw photographs of the stuff I cook - and accompanying reflections/commentary/recipes/things to remember - up on a WordPress blog that I shared a couple of times on Facebook. If people are really interested they'll go there, and the everyone else can keep on undisturbed.

Jun 02, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Not About Food
2

NYT Review of Dan Barber's new book The Third Plate

All research costs something.

May 31, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Food Media & News

1 night in Chicago

Elizabeth seems like a nice place for your price point. From what I've read it's a fairly unique restaurant as well. I think it might be your best chance at a "meal to remember" if you're looking for something in the tasting menu vein.

May 30, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Chicago Area

Seriously dark chocolate?

You can also buy packs of 12 3.5 oz Lindt bars in 85% and 90% off Amazon for around 2.50 per bar.

May 29, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Greater Boston Area

Fresh herbs--do you have them, how do you use them?

@jen I'd never heard of either of those things. Thanks for pointing them out. It's nice to see similar techniques pop up in different places.

May 25, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Have you ever really "scrambled" eggs?

Nope, but I remember seeing something on YouTube where a guy cooked something that involved both fish eggs and cod milt.

May 25, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Fresh herbs--do you have them, how do you use them?

With hardier fresh herbs like thyme and sage I sometimes like to use a method I saw in the Faviken cookbook and chop them as fine as possible then mix with an equal mass of fine sea salt. It's somewhere between fresh herbs and dried herbs and flavored salt and seems to keep for a month or two in the refrigerator. One way I like to use this is sprinkled over seared chanterelles and apricots.

May 24, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Jon Favreau's movie, "Chef"

You should be able to copy text by highlighting it then pressing ctrl + c and then paste it using ctrl + v, or command + c and command + v on Macs, I think.

May 19, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Food Media & News

Cookware you secretly use as dishware?

I actually don't own any glasses or cups so if the water bottle I use all the time is somewhere else then I just drink out of a small stainless steel mixing bowl. I also carry stuff in my teeth - spoons, forks, occasionally tongs - by their ends when I move around the kitchen. I also turn my head sideways when I get confused.

The family dog influenced me a lot, is what i'm trying to say.

May 17, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Cookware
1

Can't taste or smell anything

I had this happen about a week ago when I ate a few tablespoons of raw galangal in the spirit of thoroughly understanding an ingredient. It lasted about three days and then started coming back gradually over the course of another three days. But it was really odd while it was gone - even drinking water was somehow unpleasant.

May 16, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Not About Food