LeroyT's Profile

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TWENTY SIX 2 quart bags of frozen pumpkin puree in my freezer. Am I nuts...

Pumpkin butter? Cook it down with spices like for apple sauce.

Dec 31, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Why Do So Many Foodies Hate Whole Foods?

It is interesting that only one comment has mentioned that among the places mentioned, WF likely pays its' folks the best (and provides bennies, to boot). They could likely lower cost (and price) by going to the compensation model favored by the others, but apparently it's more important that wf employees earn a living wage.

Nov 27, 2011
LeroyT in Features

Leftover espresso and rum mixture

if it'll scratch up with a fork, it would be a nice granita, assuming it freezes correctly.

Sep 09, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Thank you Houston (summary of my favorite restaurants)

My wife and I went last week (Tuesday night). I had a nice glass of whiskey and she a cocktail, but the food was not up to par and the service was worse. We only were told of one special after we inquired about a plate two tables over, and didn't even hear the second special until after we'd ordered and the waiter was dealing with the table next to ours. The apps were pretty decent (chix fried oysters-yum, bacon wrapped shrimp with grits and egg, good, not great), but the entrees (pretty tough fatty pork chop for me, short rib for her) were underseasoned and just didn't earn their keep. All food was served by the hostess, who had to ask who had what for each course, and they just didn't seem to care that we were there. Overall, for $135 or so including tip, I expect better food and much better service. I have no aversion to spending a couple hundred for a great meal, but I think we either hit a very off night, or this place is not worth a trip.

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Branch Water Tavern
510 Shepherd, Houston, TX 77007

Jun 27, 2011
LeroyT in Houston

March 17 -19 Visit- Thank-you for the recommendations

The familia and I ate at cochon last Tuesday, early. No reservations, no wait. My two daughters had mac and cheese (just ok), but my wife and I split 8-9 of the small plates, which is my favorite way to eat there.

We were also on decatur for the parade, way better than my college experience on bourbon. My daughters were absolutely covered with beads, flowers, and stuffed animals by the time we left about 10. Really great guys and gals in the parade.

Mar 22, 2011
LeroyT in New Orleans

French Quarter Favorites?

We had breakfast last week at Stanley. It was insanely good. The wait for both table and food was long (10am on a beautiful saturday likely had something to do with it), but it was well worth the wait.

Mar 22, 2011
LeroyT in New Orleans

Truffle Butter in Houston?

Whole Foods has white and/or black truffle butter. I always have one of the 3.5oz "tublets" in my freezer just for when I feel like it. Pricy (maybe $8-49), but excellent for a last minute pasta or some scrambled eggs.

Mar 20, 2011
LeroyT in Houston

Big Food Chains Get Into the Truck Biz

Down in Texas, I know that Whataburger (regional chain) has had a burger van for many many years to go to stadiums. I seem to recall chick-fil-a also having a mobile presence in years past.

Mar 19, 2011
LeroyT in Features

Where to buy organ meats?

Not sure what they offer, but Jolie Vue may fit the bill, and they deliver.
http://jolievuefarms.com/orderinghome...

Mar 12, 2011
LeroyT in Houston

chowhound vs. yelp-pros & cons?

Amen. Yelp is like the best phonebook/map ever. I don't trust it too far with reviews, but I can locate and phone a restaurant in under 30 seconds, and have driving/walking/public transport directions via google to boot. I look at the overall reviews and not so much individual ones.

Mar 11, 2011
LeroyT in Food Media & News

my sourdough starter isnt souring...

Yes, the commercial yeast reproduces to a point, but is spent after a period of time. It can't really be fed and survive indefinitely.

Mar 11, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

my sourdough starter isnt souring...

Note that if you're using grapes, you are using juice and sugar. As for OP, you may need to make your preferment wetter, which will allow it to get going faster for you.

Mar 09, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Family w/ 2 kids (8,5) seek dress up dinner

Thanks TaTee, that is one of those little service moments that are not difficult, but very rarely enter the equation at the vast majority of restaurants, ALso, thanks for the domenica heads-up, it looks great!

Mar 09, 2011
LeroyT in New Orleans

Natural Alternatives to Food Coloring?

I run a bakery where we only use natural food colorings, and we don't use red that contains carmine (from beetles). I believe whole foods sells colors that are derived from vegetables for home use. We color icings successfully, though there is often a need to mix to get shades, and we often add baking soda to help set the color longer. Natural colors don't love light, so once you ice your cupcakes, don't leave them out unless they're covered in an opaque container for longest lasting results.

Mar 08, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Chick-O-Stick Cookies

The chick-o-stick is like a laminated brittle. They fold it over itself (like a butterfinger, or a croissant) to get the striated, shatteringly crisp layers. Hammonds Candy in Denver made "chicken bones" at least once, and they were phenomenal.

Mar 08, 2011
LeroyT in Features

Family w/ 2 kids (8,5) seek dress up dinner

You all are very kind, I appreciate the help. After looking at all the menus I hadn't already, I think Galatoire's is still the spot. I really want my daughters to love New Orleans like their mother and I do, and to me it's the only place on the list that could not happen in any other town. I am thinking about swinging by parkway tavern for po-boys, but would take direction on that question as well (but it'll be hard to sway me from drippy po-boy and botled barq's). Once again, muchas gracias y'all, if you ever need pointers for Houston, holla!

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Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Mar 07, 2011
LeroyT in New Orleans

Family w/ 2 kids (8,5) seek dress up dinner

I promise I searched the board first, but "romantic" is about as close as I could find. My two girls are very civilized (in public), and I'm looking for a place wear I can wear a suit and tie and they can get dressed up for a dinner. My first thought was Galatoire's, but I thought you all could point us in the right direction. We'll be eating at any number of great places during our 5 days in town, so it's as much for the experience of a "fancy" dinner as it is about the food. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Mar 06, 2011
LeroyT in New Orleans

I need a buttercream breakdown

Soft ball sugar syrup streamed into a meringue is technically an Italian meringue. Swiss is whites and sugar heated together then whipped. I like swiss myself, it's easier (though I enjoy testing sugar syrup with a glass of icy water and my fingers). You could add malt when you add butter, since there's plenty o' fat in the butter, even mix malt powder with the butter before blitzing it into the meringue. I like what PBSF said, you either love that fatty deliciousness (like me), or you don't. I think a strong coffee flavored buttercream is what I wlil be buried in upon my demise.

Jan 14, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Doughnuts: Shortening vs. Butter

palm shortening is natural, though in the end you're subbing fat for fat. Shortenings are 100% fat, butter is, at most, 86% or so, so it's a relative diet food!

Jan 14, 2011
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Whole Foods Makes Us Lazy Cooks

I buy the bell pepper "filets" at times because it's actually a pretty good value and I get red, green, and yellow all at once. To extrapolate that this is a sign of the apocalypse, or the "wussification of America" (if you think this year is good, you're going to love third grade!) would be funny if it wasn't so dumb. It seems like if you have the energy to get that worled up by this, you might want to increase your meds.

Jan 13, 2011
LeroyT in Features

Homemade ice cream - question about chilling custard base before churning

A couple of things faster to below 40F does for you:
gets the mix out of the temp danger zone, lessening the chance of food borne illness
makes your fridge have to not work as hard to get keep the box cool
arrests whatever carryover cooking may be happening if you making an anglaise

Also, an anglaise ice cream base (french style) will benefit from the long cooling period (and a trip through a blender or a minute with an immersion blender) to ensure the smoothest possible texture. Something about the protein strands relaxing once fully cool, as I recall.

Jul 28, 2010
LeroyT in Home Cooking

In search of great Oxtail - what is the secret of boosting flavour

I think browning in the pan is best for the fond it creates, though you do get some of this from the surface of the meat as well. As for mushrooms, you're dead on! the savory depth they add to the flavor will help a lot.

Sometimes when Ibraise a roast, I make a "starter stock" with oxtails to lend body to the final braise. I do it a day ahead and chill the tails in the liquid. Then I add the pulled meat to to final braise when serving, or at least as much as I haven't eaten while everyone else in the house is asleep. ; )

Jul 24, 2010
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Upper Crust Lawsuit

putting cooks on salary is actually done surprisingly often to eliminate ot, at least based on my experience working in restaurants for the last 20 years.

Jul 24, 2010
LeroyT in Food Media & News

ice cream maker

It will make (inefficiently) a slushy beverage. It will chill down a bottle of champagne relatively quicker than a refrigerator. It will save you money on frozen items(you won't buy as many as there will be less space in your freezer). It will hold down a stack of papers in a light windstorm. Dyin' here....

Jul 05, 2010
LeroyT in Cookware

Hazelnut cake?

No mixer does limit you a little, but here's one thing you can do: take your favorite vanilla cake recipe and replace a percentage of the flour (maybe 25-30%) with toasted hazelnut meal (or ground toasted hazelnuts if you have a food processor or a lot of patience and a knife). Depending on what flour you use and how much you replace with hazelnut you may have to add in some stronger flour (if your recipe uses cake, some AP, if ap, maybe some bread), but I'd say that's not likely if you stay around 25%. Toasting the hazelnuts or hazelnut meal is essential to bring out that flavor.

Another option would be to replace some of the fat with praline paste or hazelnut butter, though the first option will likely give you a better result.

Jul 05, 2010
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Real Bread

Ok, but my example was of a loaf that was baked in the same place it was shaped, then finished at the retail spot. I can understand that in the case of say, La Brea, where the lion's share of the work is done by machine. But for smaller bakeries that do everything but mix by hand? Is that not "honest" bread? I'm not even arguing that a place like panera that ships dough around for proofing is artisanal (though I don't know that it's "dishonest"), I just think that to call those breads not honest or dishonest is goign too far. Nothing personal, just a quibble.

Jul 03, 2010
LeroyT in Austin

Combining Whipped Cream and Melted Chocolate

I've done this in the past with melted chocolate, but left it hot because it can seize the chocolate (though if it's too hot and you have the cream whipped fully, you can break the whole mix (lose the emulsification). If you underwhip the cream a little and add about 30% to the warm chocolate and whisk vigorously until combined, you can then fold in the rest of the cream. Depending on technique, the cream you fold in can be more whipped.

Jul 03, 2010
LeroyT in Home Cooking

Real Bread

I guess the question is, if two loaves are made by hand with organic flour, water, and yeast or natural levain and salt, one fully baked and the other par baked, and then they are shipped to a store, and the store puts the par baked one in the oven for 10 minutes, is one of them artisan and one of them not?

Jul 03, 2010
LeroyT in Austin

Dutch Oven Materials

I like the car seat analogy. I also generally am cooking in the dutch oven on the stove top before it goes in the oven, so at least some pre-heating has taken place. I actually think that the heavier (much) LC dutch is far superior because it regulates and slows down the cooking process. The AC, though heavy for stainless, does not have the heft of the LC and therefore means I need to pay more attention to it, which sort of defeats the biggest benefit of braising. I like to braise in my LC overnight at 275 or so and wake up to a great smelling kitchen and dinner already done for the evening.

Jul 01, 2010
LeroyT in Cookware

Dutch Oven Materials

it would seem like the difference in cooking techniques between a sheet pan and a dutch oven is significant enough to not necessarily take the reflection factor as being as important, or even truly noticeable. Considering you're cooking 95%+ of the food away from the obscured surface, and the mass of what you're cooking is generally speaking (we're talking about 8qt pots here) far greater than anything you would normally cook on a sheet pan (as well as far more liquid), I think the effect is likely negligible, at best.

Jul 01, 2010
LeroyT in Cookware