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I never eat _______ out because nobody makes it right but me.

Totally agree. There are definitely some places here in New York that make incredible pasta, but unless I'm in a place I am confident is going to serve properly done pasta, I avoid it because I can do better at home.

Jan 14, 2010
aravenel in Home Cooking

Frozen chicken dumplings in Chinatown?

Thanks for all the suggestions, they are much appreciated.

If anyone else thinks of anywhere else, please let me know!

I'm also open to turkey dumplings, or really anything without pork in them. Chicken/turkey and chive is ideal, but chicken and mushroom dumplings are great too!

Jan 08, 2010
aravenel in Manhattan

Frozen chicken dumplings in Chinatown?

Thanks for all the replies, it is much appreciated.

If anyone thinks of anywhere else, please keep the suggestions coming

Jan 08, 2010
aravenel in Manhattan

Frozen chicken dumplings in Chinatown?

Hi all,

I'm looking for a good place to buy frozen chicken dumplings in Chinatown. Unfortunately most of the reviews and posts that I've seen are about pork dumplings, which my girlfriend (unfortunately!) won't eat.

Is there any place known for good chicken dumplings? What about frozen--who has decent prices?

Thanks for the help!

Jan 07, 2010
aravenel in Manhattan

Best Burrito in NY?

Not even into Park Slope unfortunately.

Oct 02, 2009
aravenel in Outer Boroughs

Pumpkin Pie Concrete at Shake Shack

Anyone have any idea when the pumpkin pie concrete at Shake Shack will be back? It's one of my favorites, but I'm not sure when/if it will be making an appearance this fall, and it's not listed on the custard calendar/menu.

Thanks!

Oct 02, 2009
aravenel in Manhattan

Favorite pizza topping

Caramelized onions, thyme, broccoli, and mozzarella. Roasted broccoli in itself is incredible--add caramelized onions, thyme, and cheese to it, and it's mindblowing.

Sep 28, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Making pizza today...

I too have owned several and use them several times a week, every week, for the last several years. And I have never seasoned them, and never had anything stick to them.

On the other hand, my parents bought a stone a couple of years ago, and following some similar advice, "seasoned" the stone. It immediately smoked up, set off the smoke alarms, made the house stink for a week, and cracked the stone. When they got a new one, they didn't do this, and have since been happily using the stone without incident.

Furthermore, the concept of "seasoning" a porous stone is dubious. The purpose of seasoning is to create a sort of caked on glaze, similar to that which you get on cast iron. There is no way, short of actual glazing, to season such a porous piece of stone. Nor would it need it. Things don't stick to something that hot. It's the same reason why when you put a steak in a searing hot pan, it doesn't stick. Rubbing oil on a porous stone will only cause the oil to seep deep into the stone to burn, while leaving the surface of the stone just as porous as before.

The more likely issue here is that the stone isn't hot.

Now, perhaps there are some glazed stones out there that should be seasoned, and if the manufacturer's instructions say to do so, then I suppose it may be worth a shot. But I can't say that I've ever seen one of these stones, nor would I want one if I did see one. The burning point of oil is WELL below the temperature of the stone when heated, and since things don't stick to an un-oiled stone to begin with, why should I stink up the joint for the same result?

Sep 28, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Pizza dough: Okay to make earlier in day for baking tonight?

As you've no doubt gathered by now, the answer is yes, you can absolutely refrigerate the dough for later.

The only thing I'll add is to make sure that you let it warm up on the counter for an hour or so before trying to stretch/roll it out--it will make things a LOT easier. Cold dough tends to be very stubborn.

Sep 25, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Broccoli as a meal?

Roasted broccoli is like crack. So good. I like to do it at a higher temp (450-500) for more crispy goodness, but any way you slice it, this is the best way ever to make broccoli.

Sep 25, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Making pizza today...

1) Don't oil the stone. The oil will burn at the high temperatures required to cook pizza, and will at the least stink up the house; at the worse, they'll make your pizza taste funky.
2) The dough shouldn't stick to the stone at all. If it is, make sure your oven is hot enough--by which I mean crank it up as high as it will go and let it pre-heat for 45 minutes. No shortcuts here.
3) The dough *can* stick to the pizza peel, or whatever you're using to slide it onto the stone. In this case, either flour the peel (regular flour will work, as will cornmeal), or for a truly foolproof method, make the pizza on a piece of parchment paper (*not* wax paper) and just slide the whole piece of paper with the pizza on top onto the stone.

Sep 25, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Too much yeast in this focaccia?

The amount of yeast is a *tad* on the high side, but you have to remember that putting that dough in the fridge will significantly retard the yeast from rising (which is the whole point). I will say that dough risen overnight in the fridge does definitely taste better.

I'd try the recipe just as it is to start with.

Now this is all assuming that when you say rise overnight, you mean in the fridge. If you're just leaving it out on the counter, it's going to overrise, make a mess on your counter, and taste bland. Do it in the fridge.

Sep 25, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

German/Euro style doner kebabs in NYC?

Bumping this thread. Anyone have any other suggestions? Having a serious hankering, and in a city as large as NY, there has to be a decent place...

Jul 16, 2009
aravenel in Manhattan

Challenge: feed two for a week on $80 in nyc

Living in New York City and also eating almost all meals for two at home on a similar budget, the biggest thing is probably going to be finding a good market. I don't know what neighborhood you're in, but neither the neighborhood bodega nor the hyper-upscale markets are where you're going to want to shop--and it probably won't be one place. Learn what each market does best--some are better at meat, some fish, some veggies, etc. Chinatown is great for fish, and learn to love the ethnic markets for spices--it's incredible how expensive spices are in the local markets, and how cheap they are in ethnic markets. Learn to buy in bulk (Whole Foods and Fairway usually have great bulk bins), it can save a ton of money.

If you've got some time and a car on your hands (or live in Park Slope) and don't mind the food-nazi attitude, you can eat like a king for cheap by shopping at the Park Slope Food Coop. Have to join and work 2.75 hours every 4 weeks though, in addition to waiting in the crazy checkout lines. Not for me, but some people love it.

May 12, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Looking for Caputo 00 flour

Confirmed, just bought some from that Key Foods today. Very reasonably priced, too, $2.50 for the 2.2KG red bags.

Apr 25, 2009
aravenel in Outer Boroughs

Caracas Arepas--What's in that sauce?!

It's quite sweet too, I'm wondering if it has some fruit in it as well--perhaps mangoes? Anyone else have any guesses as to what's in it or what a similar type of recipe might look like?

Apr 22, 2009
aravenel in Manhattan

Brooklyn Beer Bars Part 4 - 4th Ave. Pub

Haha, me too. I went at about 6:30 after work one day and it was very pleasant--only a few people, nice and quiet, and the bartender let us taste any beer we wanted. I enjoyed it--but if it were at normal capacity, I'd hate it too.

Mar 24, 2009
aravenel in Outer Boroughs

Thawing Chickpeas

I'm going to venture a guess and say that since the beans are already well-cooked (as all cooked beans are), microwaving won't hurt them a bit. You don't want to microwave frozen meats and such because you don't want to cook them, but you dont have that problem with cooked beans.

I haven't tried this, but I can't see how it would affect the beans in the slightest.

Mar 19, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Help me make a perfect hamburger

Wow, what a question.

First you need to decide what what YOUR idea of the perfect hamburger is. As you've seen, there are 100 different "best" recipes, from the meatloaf-like to the bare meat, from thick to thin, grilled to griddled. Decide what kind of hamburger you want, then you can find a good recipe for it.

BTW, my perfect burger is 80/20 or 75/25 fat, chuck/round combination, coarse ground. Form into 7-8oz balls, liberally salt both sides with kosher salt, and place into lightning hot cast iron skillet to lightly sear the first side (very lightly, this step is only to hold the burger together for when you perform the next step--you don't want anything more than the very tip of the beef to cook). Then, flip, still in ball form, and smash that burger down onto the skillet, hard. Since it's still raw, you aren't squishing out the juices, which is why you normally NEVER smash a cooking burger. This early smash however causes the burger to adhere to the pan and get an *excellent* crust, and since its so early in the process, you dont lose any juices. When the first side has a perfect crust, flip and cook until the burger is to the proper doneness. Serve in a lightly buttered bun topped with onions and mustard.

Mar 19, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

What kind of vodka for your vodka sauce? (for tonight!)

Oh trust me, I'm well aware of how bad some of the stuff out there is, having graduated from college only a couple of years ago. But the fact is that there is so little of it in the sauce, and that vodka is already so neutrally flavored (even the bad stuff), and the use of it isn't for the flavor that the vodka brings, but for the alcohol in it, and it really doesn't matter much.

Still, like I said, I wouldn't buy vodka just to cook with. I'd use whatever is in the liquor cabinet, and if I didn't have any, I'd buy something that I could drink afterward--Smirnoff in my book. You only need a couple of ounces to cook with. The point is, don't go buying expensive vodka for this. This is one place where having the best ingredients isn't that important.

Mar 13, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

What kind of vodka for your vodka sauce? (for tonight!)

Also a good point. No sense in adding artificial flavors to the sauce. In a drink it's one thing, since you cant just add pepper to a drink. But in a dish? Use the real thing.

Mar 13, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

What kind of vodka for your vodka sauce? (for tonight!)

The cheapest stuff you can find.

The vodka adds no flavor to the sauce. What it does is dissolve the alcohol soluble flavors in the tomatoes, of which there are plenty.

Since you're only adding a couple of ounces, and all you care about is the alcohol leaching extra flavor from the tomatoes, feel free to use the cheapest stuff you can find.

Now, were it me, I personally wouldn't go out and specially buy a bottle just to cook with since it requires so little vodka to get the effect. I'd just use whatever was in the liquor cabinet. But it's a good way to use up leftover rotgut from a party or whatever.

Mar 13, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Sea Scallops - inspired me 'Hounds!

Make sure you buy dry or diver sea scallops. If they don't have one of those two words in them, they are going to have water added to them to plump them up, and they won't sear when you put them in the pan. Just a word of warning.

Mar 11, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

New in South Slope - Roots, Hanco's, Athena

Thank god, it was highway robbery at the previous prices. That's still expensive for Banh Mi, but it's heading in the right direction. I love Banh Mi, and it's nice to have in the neighborhood, but I just can't see how they justified those prices.

Mar 10, 2009
aravenel in Outer Boroughs

Simple roasted chicken?

I make this exact recipe at least once a week, and it comes out spectacularly every time. Extremely moist, and with excellently crispy skin. Doesn't get much better.

Mar 06, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Stainless steel fry pan - how to fry eggs without them sticking!!

Barkeeper's Friend will bring back the shine on stainless steel. Works like a charm.

Mar 06, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking

Mexican ingredients in Park Slope?

Yeah, I've seen some places with dried chiles (theres a place at 5th and Union), but the quality is pretty low.

I'll try the place at 5th & 6th, as well as D'Vine taste.

Any other suggestions?

Mar 05, 2009
aravenel in Outer Boroughs

Why does my pizza stone stink?

Like everyone said, the oil is likely the culprit. There's no need to "season" it. To get rid of the oil that's on there, unfortunately the only thing to do is burn it off. Can't wash the stone as the water will get in the pores of the stone and cause it to crack next time it's heated.

Mar 04, 2009
aravenel in Cookware

Mexican ingredients in Park Slope?

Hi all,

I'm looking for a good place to buy Mexican ingredients, specifically a good selection of dried chiles, in Park Slope. There is one thread on here that recommended Nuevo Faro, but the thread is 7 years old and I don't believe they are in business anymore.

Any suggestions? North slope is preferable, but I'm open.

Thanks!

Mar 04, 2009
aravenel in Outer Boroughs

Scallops - what am I doing wrong?

Right. That milky discharge is a clear indicator of "wet" scallops. Make sure the scallops you buy are called "dry" or "diver" scallops in the store.

Mar 04, 2009
aravenel in Home Cooking