Karl S's Profile

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What I Want When I Go Out

1. Host will be replaced by intelligent interface.
2. Tables will be eliminated (just like real seats on airplanes). People linger too long when they are seated.
3. Up the noise so that you need more alcohol to take the edge off.
4. Tablets and robots.

about 14 hours ago
Karl S in Not About Food

Final Bill from Wedding Caterer

This may seem unnecessary but it should be said:

Be factual.

Jan 23, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food
1

Restaurant Name Has Nothing to do With The Food Served

THat's what you think....

Salt box safe?

Pepper differs from salt in a key respect: pepper is organic (in the sense that it's the seed of a carbon-based life form), table salt is not (it's just a rock).

Why are people slaves to a date, say February 14?

"Orthodox use both those calendars. Or I should say, some use one, some use the other."

Is Outrage!

(humor alert: http://www.amazon.com/Outrage-Wisdom-...)

Jan 23, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food

Why are people slaves to a date, say February 14?

It really should be the last Thursday of November, dang Franksgiving.... And Memorial Day should be May 30th. And Washington's Birthday - btw, the legal holiday is still Washington's Birthday, not the commercial designation "Presidents' Day" - should be February 22nd (or at least the *last* Monday in February).

And get off my lawn!

Why are people slaves to a date, say February 14?

One thing: Valentine's Day is an anniversary day for a lot of people who got engaged (or, less commonly, married) on that day. That amplifies the effect of crowding...

Jan 22, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food

Why are people slaves to a date, say February 14?

"Why that day?" Because it's St Valentine's Day, just like 3/17 is St Patrick's Day, the second SUnday of May is Mother's Day in the US (it's the fourth Sunday of Lent - Laetare or Mothering Sunday, if you will - in the UK, if memory serves), 12/25 is Christmas Day and 1/1 is New Year's Day and Easter Sunday is, well, however the Sunday after the first full moon after the March equinox is notionally calculated in one's church calendar. It's not a civic Monday holiday observance, but something with deep roots, commercialized as it may be. (Btw, a saint's feast day is classically - but for saints without strong written records, it's typically not historical - tied to the day of the saint's death (the saint's heavenly birthday - the first Christian saint with a historically firm date of death was St Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of John the Evangelist, who was martyred on February 23 in the 150s), or another event related to the saint's life).

That said, it's one of the worst days of the year to eat out. Along with Mother's Day and New Year's Eve. And, therefore, more and more people who know this but want to eat out are doing what you are doing, which is tending to make those days crappier, too. The crap is bleeding into the adjoining days, in other words.

Jan 22, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food

Restaurant Name Has Nothing to do With The Food Served

Odd, because Pasta Fever in Boca Raton does have pasta dishes on its menus online. http://www.pasta-fever.com/

Jan 21, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food

Chilling meat in freezer after shopping trip.

If fish and seafood are to be refrigerated for more than a few hours, they should be kept on ice - as close to freezing as possible. I keep ice packs in the freezer for this purpose, among others. Normal refrigerator temperatures are too warm.

Jan 19, 2015
Karl S in General Topics
2

Cacio e pepe in Boston

The truc is to melt the grated cheese with some of the starchy pasta cooking water before saucing the pasta; it helps to have a lower water:pasta ratio to have the water starchier, as the suspended starch is what helps the proteins in the cheese emulsify rather than clump.

The other essential thing, often omitted in recipes, is that for the best results you must use heated bowls - this dish, like carbonara, suffers when its mixed and served on tepid or cold dishes.

Dish poaching

I missed this gem during Christmas week travel.

Basically, I would have your spouse or sibling (that is, whoever is blood kin to her) tell her that it is not acceptable for her to ask other guests what they are bringing and for her to then bring that dish or a variation thereon. With a single exception: Cailles en Sarcophage. Because you can always use more of that and it's such a test of skill that it would be entertaining.

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/56...

Jan 14, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food
1

Meatless Meals

Eggs are your greatest friend if you are on a tight budget. A tight budget is a wonderful opportunity to take a disciplined tour through the culinary adventures possible with eggs.

Btw, souffles are quite cheap. If you ever want to put on a fabulously memorable dinner for guests on a very tight budget, learn to do the mise-en-place for a souffle.

Jan 14, 2015
Karl S in Home Cooking
1

quick chicken soup

http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Gourm...

That's a six pack. It's a 1/20 reduction. 2Tbs serving=310mg sodium, which in the world of non-homemade stocks is low.

Jan 09, 2015
Karl S in Home Cooking
1

Healthy Coffee Creamer Mix

Yep.

Jan 08, 2015
Karl S in General Topics

Simple Good Things

Eggs.

Jan 07, 2015
Karl S in General Topics

Healthy Coffee Creamer Mix

How about . . . cream itself, in moderation? It has no added sugar.

Lemon/Lime Curd - does it need that much butter?

If you used heavy cream, you'd make a posset, a delightful dessert, but not stable like a curd made with butter.

What do you put in your chicken stock to make the most flavorful soup?

A couple of cloves (the spice, that is). (Allspice for beef-based broths.)

Chicken feet (available at Asian markets) are a big plus for body. Including ground chicken in the mix will also amplify flavor and body.

Don't go overboard with carrots or celery: too much can create an imbalance of flavors.

Jan 05, 2015
Karl S in Home Cooking

Mandatory municipal composting: how do you handle your food scraps?

What's "newspaper"?

Jan 04, 2015
Karl S in Not About Food
1

Eggs all Taste The Same to Me

This is why eggs were preserved in a variety of ways. Pickling, breads, pastries, et cet. Butter was as well. And funny how Catholics (back before the Modern era) and Orthodox Christians abstained from dairy and egg products during the late winter Lent.

Jan 03, 2015
Karl S in General Topics

Eggs all Taste The Same to Me

This. Though my brother keeps only 4 hens, and is able to avoid commercial feed during the winter. Still, they stop laying during the darkest part of the year. Which is good for them.

Jan 03, 2015
Karl S in General Topics

Eggs all Taste The Same to Me

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/wh...

I buy eggs from chickens that are pastured (actually, it's not so great for egg layers to be entirely free range if they have access to grounds heavily visited by wild birds - the crap of the latter carry diseases for domesticated birds....). Because eggs are my favorite food and I like to support positive change in the production of the product. It's also, in absolute terms, a relatively modest amount of money, less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

May I vent? (living with a reasonably Chowish person who isn't quite a Chowhound..)

When you delegate, you must accept the fruits of delegation within reason. This is within reason. Your venting is not.

Dec 31, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food

Making liver palatable

The mildest liver, in my experience, is farmed rabbit. Milder than poultry or calf liver. Delicious. Comes with "giblets" in packaged rabbit. Surprisingly large.

Dec 31, 2014
Karl S in Home Cooking

Best southern-fried chicken in the Greater Boston area?

Cool/cold fried chicken is a classic. The problem many folks have is that they don't know how to cool it down properly; it has to be laid on a rack in a single layer to completely cool open-air in the refrigerator before being put into a container. Cooled properly, fried chicken can be the equal of fresh out of the fryer; it's different but wonderful when de-chilled a bit.

Automatic gratuity - what % is normal?

Zagat reports a national average (self-reported*) of 19%. But that pretty much covers urban areas where there are enough dining establishments to be surveyed by Zagat. And self-reporting tends to burnish the self-image of the reporter, so even in that group averages and medians may well be lower (median info would be more helpful than averages, because the upside range for tipping is far higher than the downside). Besides, Zagat's own statistical methods are pretty sketchy, and should not be taken as empirical. Other surveys I've read indicate a typical range of 15-18%.

Dec 29, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food

New Profile Setting: Collapse Previously Read Comments (also defaults to "See All" page)

ditto

Dec 20, 2014
Karl S in Home Cooking

Grassfed beef taste test

It's perhaps counterintuitive that a leaner beef might make a better burger.

American hamburger patties may be divided into two general types: thick "pucks" and thin "flat patties" - the latter seems to be associated with the West Coast and the former with NY-area diners, but in practice I think prevalence is all over the map. Anyway, fattiness makes a difference in patty type: in a thick patty, having a medium rare burger with a lot of tepid fat is not necessarily loved by everyone, while a high fat content renders out in a thinner patty but enough remains to let it still seem juicy even if you overcook it a bit. (This is why the thin patty type is more forgiving, at least IMO. And that's probably why I've shifted strongly to preferring thin patties over the years. A preference shift borne of experience.)

That said, for some reason the more robust texture and flavor of the grass-finished ground beef, even with somewhat less fat, holds up better than with typical grain-finished beef.

Dec 19, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

Being "put to work" at a Christmas Party

Not Good Eats.

Dec 19, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food