lamb_da_calculus's Profile

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Pear desserts

The French Laundry cookbook has a recipe in which you simmer toasted walnuts in cream and vanilla and then poach some pears in a mixture of white wine, water, and sugar. At the end the pears, a bit of their poaching liquid, and the strained walnut cream are pureed together for a sweet soup. If you have it, it's pretty lovely, and quick and easy (especially by French Laundry standards).

I've been meaning to make it with gingerbread crumbs sprinkled over the top.

about 10 hours ago
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

establishments that barter for meyer lemons

Not to hijack this thread, but do restaurants usually trade for produce? Is this something I don't know about?

Being "put to work" at a Christmas Party

I'm continually confused by posts on here where people attend parties hosted by individuals they clearly don't like.

Favorite cooking task(s)?

*lean

Dec 09, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Favorite cooking task(s)?

I like that sound too. If I learn in close it reminds me of birdsong.

Dec 08, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Favorite cooking task(s)?

When I say "task", I mean something that would be relegated to a single sentence in a recipe. So trussing a chicken is a task, but roasting a chicken isn't. You know what I mean.

For me, there's a special place in my heart reserved for any time I get to brunoise a red bell pepper. The actual knifework gives me an opportunity to be fast, delicate, and precise - I don't think anything else cuts quite as nicely as a bell pepper - and at the end I'm left with a pretty little pile of rubies.

What about you?

Dec 07, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

When oven-roasting a chicken, how do you evenly brown the skin?

I don't have a convection oven. Are there any workarounds?

Nov 23, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

When oven-roasting a chicken, how do you evenly brown the skin?

Evenly browned skin is more of a problem than crispy skin for me, but while we're at it, roughly how much baking soda are we talking here?

Nov 23, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

When oven-roasting a chicken, how do you evenly brown the skin?

I've been roasting a chicken every week for about six weeks. One problem persists: the skin does not brown evenly. Instead, I end up with a lot of tan/light-brown skin and then a few spots of brown to dark-brown skin. I'm trying for that uniform medium brown. What I get isn't bad. It's reasonably crispy. But it's not that rich brown I'm looking for. Problem spots tend to be the highest points of the breasts and, when turned over, the back.

See here for an example of the even browning I'm shooting for:

http://www.chow.com/food-news/136983/...

I basically use the Zuni Cafe chicken recipe except for trussing the bird and leaving it in the fridge uncovered for the last day of the brine. The chicken sits out for an hour before going in the oven. The oven itself sits at 460F for a solid 20 minutes before the chicken goes in. I've double-checked it with an oven thermometer.

The chicken is on the lowest rack, on top of a bed of carrots, pearl onions, and parsnips in a 2" deep cast iron skillet. I'm assuming this is a matter of having hot spots in my oven, but I'm not sure. Do you think the vegetables steam enough to really affect the cooking process for the skin? I put them in the oven about 10 minutes before the bird to try and alleviate this, but it's about 2 lbs of vegetables before trimming. It doesn't seem to steam that much.

How do you get even browning of roast chicken skin?

Nov 23, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

So What Dishes do you top with a Runny Poached Egg?

I'm on the 4th or 5th iteration of this dish: rehydrate some porcinis, strain the remaining liquid and simmer some hulled barley in a 1:1 mixture of some of the mushroom liquid and water. Add a bay leaf in the last 10 minutes.

Mince the mushrooms, mince some shallots, cook the shallots in a little butter and olive oil until translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining liquid. Cook down until almost dry, mix into the barley, and top each serving with a runny soft-boiled egg. I like to smear a little fig mostarda on the egg. I think it plays well with porcinis' unusual sweet/rich/earthy quality.

Nov 17, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

how to keep crispy cookies crispy

I've had success storing cookies in/on dry grains of rice, but I'm not sure how practical this is. I only did it once.

Commercial food-grade dessicants might be overkill, but they'd work.

Nov 16, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Michelin Predictions for 2015

Hey, that's good to hear. It's strange since I've never eaten Duffy's food, but I have read Pang's Tribune article about him + heard that he blends the vegetable focus of Charlie Trotter with the inventiveness and intense calm of Grant Achatz, so I've been following Grace for a while.

Nov 06, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Chicago Area

Michelin Predictions for 2015

Simultaneously hoping that Grace jumps to three stars and doesn't inflate the menu prices further. I was hoping to make a reservation for January, and 205 is already pushing it. Plus the buzz from three stars would make a reservation pretty hard I'd think.

Nov 06, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Chicago Area

What method for cooking meat will keep it tasty after 5-6 days?

You can also pre-cook most of it and make the protein a la minute. For example this weekend I made soup from barley, shallots, dried lobster mushrooms, and swiss chard, and whenever I actually make a serving I just poach a couple of eggs to go on top.

Is it disappointing for you not to eat turkey or ham on Thanksgiving?

I don't make a big deal out of Thanksgiving and I'm not actually doing anything for it this year. Not going to anybody's house, not having anybody over, not making something special, nothing. Remember in Rocky? "For you it's Thanksgiving, for me it's Thursday."

Might have something to do with the fact that my parents are immigrants from south Asia so it's not really a *thing* for us. We did it growing up, but it wasn't really an inviolate tradition or anything. One year as a kid we had hot dogs because that's what my sister and I wanted. Although I think they're having a special Thanksgiving dinner this year (about a thousand miles away from me unfortunately).

HELP! need EASY vegetarian finger food ideas like, yesterday

+1 for homemade guacamole. It's easy, usually better than store-bought, hangs around well at room temperature, and appeals to basically everybody.

"Amateur night" and other terms of disdain - do you actually WANT my business?

I don't really see why this should apply to the most popular/highest-end restaurants. If a place does 100 prix-fixe tasting menus most nights of the week, why would the one on Saturday night suddenly be harder?

ELECTRIC STOVE FOR INDIAN COOKING! help!

As someone who only recently switched from gas to electric, one good thing to keep in mind is that electric tends to be less responsive to heat changes. However, you can get around this with a few tricks, e.g. lift a pan over a burner to cool it slightly, or leave two burners on at different heat settings - switching as needed - if you're really trying something finicky

Oct 24, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Cookware

Only a Chef Can Ruin Mashed Potatoes

I've never heard of it, but I'm curious about what it's supposed to mean.

Food mythbusters . What's your belief or not ?

Wait, how can oil "dry"?

Does anyone hate the smell of Shiitake mushrooms?

I like using them, but I do think they have a vague ammonia quality that other mushrooms lack. There's something "sharp" in the aroma of shiitakes that I always find kind of off-putting.

help me create a simple rustic dinner menu

A spice cake could work well too.

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? October 2014 Edition. [old]

After picking up a copy of Achatz's "Life on the Line" for $4 - a nice price for a book that's so good at fleshing out and humanizing Achatz, whose general public persona is "aloof wizard" - I ordered a copy of the Alinea cookbook for about $30 that should be here soon. More of an aspirational cookbook for the time being, but I look forward to reading through it.

Roasting tomatoes and tomatillos

Yeah, I guessed as much. I just started using Pyrex. Seems like any sudden temperature change is a bad idea. Thanks though.

Sep 25, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Spelling & grammar errors on menus

A year ago I transcribed the online menus of every Michelin-starred restaurant in the U.S. (where available). Even at that level, it's kind of funny how many places misspelled "Valrhona".

Roasting tomatoes and tomatillos

Can you put pyrex right under a broiler?

Sep 24, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

Roasting tomatoes and tomatillos

Just as a follow-up, the foil method solved this problem pretty well. I didn't use non-stick spray because I don't have any, and I lost a bit of the fruit as a result, but overall it's a definite improvement (and much faster clean-up) over just using a bare pan. Nice tip.

Sep 22, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

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?

Sep 20, 2014
lamb_da_calculus in Home Cooking

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.