RealMenJulienne's Profile

Title Last Reply

corn starch vs flour for coating before frying?

Corn starch is a bit crispier than flour, but if you want best results fro a single-layer fry coating then rice flour is the best.

Got a new pizza stone. What else can I use it for?

I have a big Lodge cast iron pizza pan that serves as a pizza stone. I leave it in the oven because it helps to regulate temperature as some have said already. I've also cooked naan on it, using this recipe:

The home oven can't get as hot as a tandoor, but cranking it up to 550F and using the pizza pan as a heat sink gets you pretty close. The naan turned out great baked directly on the hot metal.

How do you like your tacos...crunchy or soft?

Soft tortillas only. Two corn tortillas stacked up, cooked on the griddle, piled with meat and garnished with onion, cilantro and lime. OR, a flaky handmade flour tortilla filled with pork and bean stew.

The crunchy taco shell is a fundamentally unsound concept and makes no sense as a handheld food item. It is perfectly designed to shatter at the first bite and deliver a payload of red Mexi-grease down your shirt front.

Favorite "Seasoning Salt"? Is This Regional?

Another vote for Chachere's here in Illinois. Really nice balanced flavor for milder meats. Very good under rubbed under the skin of a roast chicken. It's my go-to rub for meats if I'm too lazy to make up a spice rub from scratch. Plus it comes in that e-z-shake jar, no need to pinch it out with your fingers, prevent cross-contamination, etc.

Don't use it as a general Cajun spice blend though, it is too salty for that. I put way too much into a gumbo one time... not going to make that mistake again.

Ghost Pepper Wings at Popeyes

I fell for the marketing and tried these. They taste just like the regular Popeye's spicy chicken, but with heavier breading. I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a blind taste test.

Jan 14, 2015
RealMenJulienne in Chains

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

Yeah cut them in half so the bone ends are exposed to the water, then toss both halves in.

Jan 08, 2015
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

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

I agree. Stock made with chicken feet gels at room temperature, there's no comparison to a regular stock. I get packs of chicken feet at the Korea Mart, cut them through the thick part of the knuckle, and simmer in water with just a pinch of salt and splash of rice vinegar. Makes a rich, cleanly flavored stock that can be adapted to any recipe.

Jan 07, 2015
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Using a steel screw driver as a honing rod?

I'm not sure I understand the purpose of a honing rod to be honest. A hone is supposed to straighten any overhanging burr on a knife, correct? I just do that by lightly dragging the edge backward along the stone when I'm done sharpening. Or, I use any handy hard surface. I think the screwdriver would work at least as well as an actual honing rod.

Jan 06, 2015
RealMenJulienne in Cookware

Healthiest Chinese Restaurant Choices?

I feel like the Chinese (southern) method of eating is generally a healthy one, and it's not necessary to single out just one dish. Set out a pot of clear broth soup, a couple stir fried greens, a meat dish and maybe a fish. The meat dish can be oily and salty but you're not eating a plate of it, just a little at a time to flavor the rice in your bowl. Using chopsticks slows down the meal so your brain has time to feel full. Then finish with a bowl of soup to fill in the spaces.

What's wrong with turkey?

I didn't like turkey until I moved out, learned how to cook and started making my own. Very cheap and versatile meat source. The turkey is also a very efficient protein producer in terms feed-to-meat ratio, something we all should be thinking about. I buy several during holiday sales, cut them apart and freeze them for later. Legs go into stock, thighs get smoked or braised, and breasts get oven roasted.

Take one skin-on turkey breast and slather it with Walkerswood jerk paste. Roast or smoke it at low heat until the internal temp just hits 150F. Chill and slice for the best sandwich meat you'll ever taste.

What to do with fresh mackerel?

The local Korea Mart has good Atlantic mackerel so I cook it quite a bit. My go-to method is to rub with salt, stuff the cavity with scallions and lemons, tie it up with butcher's twine, then grill it whole over charcoal. Serve with lemon wedges

Chinese rib soup (pai gu tang)

Heh, I think we already had a discussion about Szechaun peppercorn. I can't stand it so it will not make an appearance.

I will definitely do the skimming step. Not because I think it's worthwhile (waste of time in my opinion) but because I will have relatives chastising over my shoulder if I don't.

Does anyone ever put red carrot in this? Definitely non traditional but it might look nice with the daikon and cilantro garnish.

Dec 22, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Chinese rib soup (pai gu tang)

I want to stay with the clear broth, but with a deeper meatier flavor than the one we usually made. I don't know if browning will muddy the broth.

I am going to use a good homemade chicken stock as the base to simmer the ribs.

Should I add a spice pack of any kind?

Dec 22, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Chinese rib soup (pai gu tang)

I wouldn't have thought to use bean curd sticks but I do have some laying around, maybe I'll try it.

You've reminded me of something else: dried goji berries.

Dec 22, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Sides that cut through fat/ richness

The ratatouille from the movie "Ratatouille" is a real recipe that Thomas Keller developed for Pixar. It's called confit biyaldi and it's my go-to vegetable side:

The tart tomato-pepper sauce really cuts the greasiness and starch of a lot of holiday meals. Great presentation too, always a crowd pleaser.

Dec 22, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Chinese rib soup (pai gu tang)

Hi, I'm going to make this for my parents when they come for Christmas dinner. The traditional family recipe we use is very simple: chopped ribs, ginger, daikon, salt and white pepper simmered in a clear meat broth. It's good but maybe it could be better. I'm thinking of browning the meat and ginger before simmering. Maybe adding some kind of spice pack too. Should I keep it simple or try and punch it up a bit?

Dec 22, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Should I bring a whole fish to a dinner party?

In the end, I went with a ratatouille instead of the mackerel. The temptation was great but reason prevailed in the end. Thanks for the input all.

Should I bring a whole fish to a dinner party?

The potluck dinner is at someone's house. My co-workers won't be there, they were just asked about the idea.

Should I bring a whole fish to a dinner party?

Early potluck Christmas party with friends this weekend. I think a whole roasted king mackerel stuffed with scallions, leeks and lemons would look awesome next to the ham and turkey. Not to mention taste great too. But I realize there are those who don't want to have a staring match with the face and eyeballs of the thing they're eating. Everyone at work is telling me not to do it.

Should I?

Need help marinating a whole chicken in lemon

I think the issue is that marinades need surface area contact to work properly, and a whole chicken has a lot of "dead space" where the marinade is not touching the meat, like the inside cavity and any part under the skin. Cutting up and deboning the bird before marinating as some have suggested is the best way to open up that surface area.

If you want to keep the chicken whole, I'd suggest a dry rub instead of a marinade. Make a blend of salt, pepper, thyme and plenty of lemon ZEST and generously rub it under the skin all over the bird. Squeeze the lemon juice over the bird and let sit for a couple days before roasting.

Dec 11, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

What's your go-to method for roasting a chicken?

I always slice the skin between leg and breast, and pop the thigh joints out so the dark meat sections lay flat. Salt and season under the skin well in advance, about 3-4 days.

When it's time to roast, use an oven-safe pan to precook the bird on the stovetop over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, legs and thighs down. This gives the dark meat a temperature jump start so it hits target temp before the breast has a chance to dry out in the oven. Roast at 350F until the dark meat hits 180F and it's done. In my opinion, breast meat should never go over 140F to stay juicy but you have to do your own risk analysis.

Dec 09, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

What makes a Diner special?

Yes, a good gyros omelet is a thing of beauty.

What makes a Diner special?

There is more great reading on this diner thread here: My diner is Belmont Snack Shop in Chicago. What makes it great? Formica counters, tape-patched rotating stools, and wood paneled walls that look like they came from your uncle's basement in the 1970s. The music of a steel spatula scraping and banging on an ancient, blackened griddle. A grizzled counter man who works with power and precision: he can go from smashing burger patties with a steel plate to frying delicate over-easy eggs without ever breaking a yolk.

Hash browns are of paramount importance. Those processed frozen cubes of potato, pepper and onion that get nuked to rubber before serving are a travesty, even worse than no hash browns at all in my opinion. Proper hash browns are par boiled, then either 1)shredded into a cake 2)roughly chunked and then crisped on the griddle with plenty of fat. No finer food on this planet than diner hash browns done right.

Cooking (frozen) potstickers in a rice cooker?

I guess it is possible, but I don't know why you'd want to. There's no way to get a crispy bottom on potstickers in the steamer rack.

If you just want steamed dumplings, then go for it.

Dec 03, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Left the cooked sausage stuffing out all night. Safe?

I am normally pretty lax when it comes to food sanitation, but your stuffing story is making me a little queasy. Meat stock grows microbes very quickly - similar substances are used to grow samples in labs after all - and stuffing is basically bread sponges soaked in stock. I would probably toss it.

Now if it's just the Stove Top stuff made with hot water, I'd be more inclined to keep it.

Dec 01, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Next year will be different: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving went like clockwork, I was very pleased with the meal. No changes are needed.

Deviled eggs
Mini cheese tarts
Bacon wrapped figs
Turkey - pre cooked and pre carved
Red wine gravy
Sausage Dressing
Pecan and pumpkin pie

Plus various potluck dishes people brought.

Dec 01, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Best New Thanksgiving Dish

Unfortunately not, but I am going to try making it anyway.

Nov 30, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Best New Thanksgiving Dish

We have the Chinese potluck Thanksgiving as we do every year. A guest brought a dish of spare ribs braised in soy sauce and then broiled in a honey glaze, served on a bed of broccoli. One of the best things I've eaten all year.

Can I dry salt rub this turkey?

My experience is the same as yours. I never buy anything but a mass market Butterball turkey and I always do the salt and herb rub under the skin a week in advance. Never have a problem with excess salt in the bird or drippings.

Nov 28, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Does anyone have a recipe for Thick balsamic dressing??

A basic ratio, not a recipe, is a good starting point for figuring this out. The classic vinaigrette ratio is 3 parts oil to one part vinegar, with a spoonful of Dijon mustard to emulsify. I find this much too greasy so I go with a 1:1 oil-vinegar ratio, with extra sharp Polish mustard. So choose a ratio, whisk it together, and add various seasonings until the flavor is right.

To get a thicker dressing, whisk an egg into it. Whole eggs produce runnier results, while egg yolks make it creamier.

Nov 28, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking