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mginsd's Profile

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Shape of ice

And I must confess to dumbing down the Brits' method of drinking gin - by adding plenty of ice cubes and every pickled fruit or veggie that's known to man!

Oct 06, 2013
mginsd in General Topics

Shape of ice

LOL! Reminds me of the time I brought shrimp salad to a seder. Oy vey!

Oct 06, 2013
mginsd in General Topics

Stuffed Peppers?

YOW! A whole Scotch bonnet? That must've been one hot pepper. Did the baking cool it down any?

Oct 06, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

Stuffed Peppers?

Some really great ideas here, especially the ones that play on cold peppers. Hot or cold, try using steel cut oats cooked in a beef or chicken broth, spiced however you wish, as an alternative to rice, quinoa, etc. Oatmeal doesn't work as well, since it's milled too finely, but once you get the seasonings right you'll find that oats are just for breakfast anymore.

Oct 06, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

I've got chicken hearts. Now what?

Nice to see some creative minds at work here - or maybe just lingering palates? I picked up a POUND - who knew? - of marked down hearts and gizzards last week and am going to try them w/ onions, 'shroomz, and celery, sauteed in olive oil, flavored with garlic, S&P, parsley and rosemary and deglazed w/ a leftover white wine, and then throw the whole melange over some sort of grain. Wish me luck!

Sep 28, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

Your Opinion about Spice Longevity

Sprouts IS a great place, for both spices and fresh produce, as well as fish and meats. SO much better value than TJ's, not to mention Whole Paycheck. Love 'em down here in SDiego, too! The Gonzalez Northgate Markets also do a good job of offering a wide range of spices, especially those used in Spanish-American cooking, and fresh produce, in great variety at great prices. Buen comida!

Sep 21, 2013
mginsd in General Topics

Your Opinion about Spice Longevity

Good call on the sight test option: tomato-based products, like catsups, sauces and salsas packed in jars, can turn a dull maroon if left too long. Generally not good once that happens.

Sep 21, 2013
mginsd in General Topics

Your Opinion about Spice Longevity

Good story, C. Would you mind telling us how much you paid for that saffron, so the rest of us can be on the lookout for similar deals? I know it's pricey; I'd like to know what a good deal on it is.

One of my main strategies, not just for spices, but for all foods, is checking the grocers' markdown bins whenever I go shopping. Combined with coupons, you can get some amazing deals that way, and the items places there are rarely near being beyond their "sell by" dates. I've never had a problem w/ any spices I've bought there or any other foods, for that matter.

Sep 21, 2013
mginsd in General Topics

Any good cold pasta salad recipe?

Try cooking the pasta in pickling juice and see if that doesn't deepen the flavor all around.

Jul 13, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

Any good cold pasta salad recipe?

I like the two-day process, and I'm going to take it a step further by omitting the dressing on day one and see how the veggies do just marinating by themselves.

Jul 13, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

Any good cold pasta salad recipe?

Good call on the lemons, especially in places like SoCal where they're literally falling off the trees now.

Jul 13, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

Any good cold pasta salad recipe?

From a health, and for some, a taste perspective, the oilves and parmesan will add enough salt, as will any canned, bottled, or pickled veggie. But, salt to taste, AFTER the ingredients have had a chance to chill is always a good idea, as are slat and pepper shakers on the table.

Jul 13, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

Any good cold pasta salad recipe?

Here's an idea that will add depth of flavor not just to the salad, but to the pasta itself, and which can be incorporated into any of the excellent recipes others have posted: you know all those jars of pickle juice you've got in your reefer? Consolidate them all and their contents in as few as possible - only distinct pickling juices like chipotle or hot pepper ones need be segregated if your taste runs so - and use the leftover juice to cook the pasta. You won't need to add any salt, and the ratio should be at least 1/2 and 1/2 juice and water. Before you add your pasta, throw in some grated carrots, celery, or other vegetable that requires a brief blanching to soften it up, and then either add your pasta so it all comes together at once, or remove the veggies and then add the pasta, chilling the veggies to prevent them from cooking further depending on how crispy you like them. Try adding some pickled cocktail olives, onion, cornichons, or any othe other things that get pickled these days. Remember, you won't need to add any salt, and, if the salad's too salty the first time you make it, consider rinsing some of the pickled veggies before you add them to the dish. This is great on hot summer evenings when served chilled on a bed of lettuce and garnished with some tomotoes and hard boiled eggs. A white wine spritzer or sangria is an excellent accompaniment. Enjoy!

Jul 13, 2013
mginsd in Home Cooking

The Indian Chipotle Exists Right Now in San Francisco at Tava

Great article and photos, and thanks for turning me onto a new food experience, but exactly what might one "lay down" after eating all those "curries so infused with cream and ghee?" If someone wants to lie down and nap, fine; but, please don't lay down "The Elements of Style" and forget to consult it now and then, editors.

Jan 21, 2013
mginsd in Features

Tamar Adler Is Appalled by Anthony Bourdain

Timing is everything, in the kitchen and out, and now that Adler's book is out, I guess it's time to serve us all a ration of her envy. Sorry, I'll skip this course. To the scullery with you!

Nov 03, 2012
mginsd in Features

Plenty of love for pumpkin pulp...but, what about the seeds?

We never oiled them when I was a kid, as I recall, but if I were to now, I'd first spread and season them on a rimmed baking tin - a sheet cake pan would be great - and then give them a quick spritz of the appropriate spray oil to complement the spicing, before mixing them all together with my fingers to distribute the oil. I wouldn't soak them in oil or oil the pan first, as that would give too much oil to a snack that should never taste of it.

Oct 28, 2012
mginsd in Home Cooking

Using Steel Cut Oats (But Not as Oatmeal)

Good call thinking outside the [cereal] box! Think of them as a substitute for rice, as in pilaf, and then combine them with grated carrots, onion, and celery, perhaps using some bell peppers (red, yellow and orange won't overpower things, as green peppers can), canned mushrooms (and their juice, but watch the salt, though oats stand up well to So), chopped sausage, or potatoes to add some substance. Throw in some broken cappellini, a la Rice-A-Roni, and then cook what you've assembled in a chicken or beef broth. Spice it as you will: parsley, sage, garlic, pepper, and thyme always make a good foundation, and then go from there to take it in the direction you want: paprika for a Hungarian taste; rosemary, red pepper (an excellent time to use A BIT of those leftover pizza seasoning packets they give away with such abandon), and oregano a/o basil for an Italian; and if you really want to get fancy add A TOUCH of saffron and try a fish broth or clam juice for a faux paella, adding the clams themselves at the appropriate time depending on whether they're cooked or not. Watch your oats-to-H2O ratio depending on the fresh veggies you use, as these release a considerable amount of water themselves. Stovetop cooking is fine, but it's as hot as it's cool to cook the melange in a covered mold surrounded by a water bath in the oven.

Oct 28, 2012
mginsd in Home Cooking

Plenty of love for pumpkin pulp...but, what about the seeds?

Good for you! Roasting pumpkin seeds straight from the squash is one of the first things I remember "helping" with in the kitchen as a kid, and thinking about it brings back fond memories of warming ourselves around the open oven door in those late October Midwest mornings before we fired up the furnace for Winter. Give garlic salt and black pepper a try, or the former with some lemon pepper, or cayenne if you're feeling frisky. The various coatings for walnuts would also work well, and make for a nice transition to T-giving and the December holidays.

Oct 28, 2012
mginsd in Home Cooking

Schmaltz?

Some great ideas here, rendered all the more palatable because they're economical as well as gastronomical. BUT, be careful about storing both unrendered and rendered - schmalzed, if you will - fat of any kind in the freezer. Keep it in there too long and it'll impart a "tired" flavor to whatever you cook it with. Try to use it within 45-60 days, max, and you'll avoid the problem, and no, using freezer bags a/o paper won't help either. Even in the freezer, food just goes bad after a while. Schmeckt's gut? Viel besser, Fressers!

Oct 28, 2012
mginsd in Home Cooking

Tomato, Tomatillo, and Corn Salad with Avocado Dressing

For just a touch of heat, try a poblano pepper. That's the starting point, all the way up to Habaneros. Try subbing a leek for the scallions, too, if you want a more mellow flavor, and perhaps cut back a bit on the amount of chipolte. And, how about cutting the dressing w/ NF yogurt or sour cream, instead of vegetable (read, corn) oil?

Memo to Chow: can we get some nutritional analysis going here???

Jul 13, 2012
mginsd in Recipes

Can You Tell If Corn Is Going to Taste Sweet?

OH has the best corn? Please! Take it from this Hoosier transplant: IN is the lone standout. But, can we all agree that CA's vaunted Coachella Valley corn doesn't come anywhere close to anything grown east of the Rockies? You've got to have that summer humidity and rain to get a good crop, something that irrigation, however diligent, just can't match. Too bad the Midwest is so dry this year!

Jul 13, 2012
mginsd in Features

Restaurants near the Wharf?

"The wharf, by and large, is a tourist trap with expensive, mediocre to terrible food."

And "the Ferry building on Sat. mornings is not? Please! Get thee to SOMA, the Mission and the Avenues ASAP!

Jun 18, 2012
mginsd in San Francisco Bay Area

The End of "Ethnic"

Great article and long overdue. "Ethnic" is just another scrabbling of letters from the multiculturalist canon, in which all things traditionally American are rejected - and usually gratuitously slurred - in favor of some amorphous, usually "wonderfully diverse," cuisine, art form, or anything else that can serve as a vehicle for denying American exceptionalism. Whenever I see the word, or any of its tiresome synonyms, I head for the door.

Jun 09, 2012
mginsd in Features