RealMenJulienne's Profile

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How to eat Mexican Soup with a side of Tortillas?

Are you talking about Mexican clear broth-based soups like birria? Dunno what the 'proper' way is, but I make little mini roll-ups with whatever meat is in the soup, with a little bit of the garnish that should come on the side, dipping into the broth for each bite.

about 18 hours ago
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

"He is exceptionally fat so I consider him a bit of an expert on these things."

After a long shitty day this post made me laugh so hard

I'm in the mood for chicken drumsticks...

If you enjoyed them, you didn't do it wrong. This is just my semi-obsessed way to get results I like.

I'm in the mood for chicken drumsticks...

Less of a recipe, more of a general technique:

With a sharp knife, slice the skin around the ankle. This causes the skin and meat to pull away from the ankle during cooking, which not only looks nice, it also gives you a clean bone to grab when eating. Be sure to cut completely through the ankle tendons, as these tendons can curl up and get tough during cooking if you leave them intact. Carefully peel the skin down from the top of the leg, but leave it attached near the bottom. Cut 2-3 diagonal slashes down to the bone in the thickest part of the meat. Apply marinade or dry rub, then refasten the skin back up with a couple of toothpicks. Marinade overnight, then grill or oven roast until the interior is 170F and the skin is crispy.

Peeling back the skin and slashing the meat before marinating exposes more surface area to absorb the marinade/rub, and you still get that crispy skin in every bite when you pin it back in place before cooking. This works with any kind of seasoning but I'm partial to WalkersWood jerk paste, thinned out with cider vinegar.

Aug 20, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Any other hunters/shooters here?

"I own a lot of guns, but only shoot at targets.........so far."

I would like to know on what hunting experience you base your statement.

I've seen rabbits slowly loping around grazing on hillsides and haybales. They don't look like especially hard targets for a good .22 rifle.

Any other hunters/shooters here?

Shooter, yes. Hunter, no. The only things I shoot at are paper targets, clay pigeons and steel gongs.

Hunting fascinates me because I see it as a logical extension of meat cooking and butchery. I would love to start (maybe rabbits with the .22 rifle?) but it seems like a closed culture that's hard to break into if you didn't grow up in that world. Also nowadays I am in a big city which kind of limits my hunting opportunities unless we are talking about putting out mousetraps and swatting cockroaches.

I'm a Professional, But Not a Chef. How About You?

I've never worked in a restaurant unless you count McDonald's in high school. But gumbo was one of the first dishes I learned how to make and I'm quite proud of it. I think it can stand up to any restaurant version I've tried. Ingredients can vary widely but there are three non negotiable points:

1) Really cook down the trinity in the roux, don't rush it
2) Use a good homemade stock, preferably with crustacean shells and heads.
3) Make it the day before you serve it

Just ate lobster for the first time

Well I had a seafood aversion when I was a younger, so there's no way I would have paid the money to eat a giant water bug. Later, when I got over the aversion and started enjoying shrimp, prawns and crab, It was just funny to see people's reactions when I told them I had never tried lobster. So it became this semi-serious "fast" to see how long I could go without trying it. Seeing as I'm turning 30 soon I figured it was time.

The next time I try it I will cook it at home. I've been eyeing some lively looking ones in the tank at Chinatown market.

Just ate lobster for the first time

Yes, perhaps the venue wasn't the best. It was an outdoor lobster boil for a crowd, so I doubt they were using the best cold water lobsters available. I will give it another try.

Just ate lobster for the first time

"The best tasting meat is a bitch to get out; it's between the white cartilage/ribs on both sides of the main body. Again, a larger lobster has bigger, more easily found intact chunks."

I forgot to mention, that part was very juicy and tasty, if a bit hard to eat. It was honeycombed with tendons, or something like tendons. I ended up cutting the midsection into segments to gnaw the meat out of the inner shell.

After the meal I found myself wanting to take everyone's shells home to make seafood stock but I couldn't figure out a graceful or hygenic way to do it.

Just ate lobster for the first time

If you ask the average guy to name a super-luxurious food, chances are he'll say "lobster". These sea bugs have a high culinary cachet in our culture, but I had never had one until this weekend. I was pretty excited to break the life-long streak of not eating lobster, but I tried to go into it with no expectations to give the sea bug a fair shake.

First, I was surprised how easily it came apart. The way people carry on about de-shelling the beast it seemed like I would need power tools and a cutting torch to get through the shell. Actually, it was very simple to cut the claws open with a pocketknife. The lobster came apart very simply, like an oversize crayfish.

Taste-wise, I thought it was OK. There was frankly not much taste to the flesh, other than a slight briny sweetness. A little lemon and butter helped to wake up the flavor a bit more. Texture–wise, I found that it was a bit chewy and stringy for my taste, at least compared to other seafood types. The fat chunk of tail meat was actually my least favorite because of the stringy texture, while the little lump of claw meat inside the "bicep" was the best.

As an aside, the poop chute in a lobster tail is truly colossal. I was not expecting to see that.

I enjoyed the meal but I feel lobster's exalted place in the American mind is more about scarcity and price than about the actual culinary value. On my seafood list lobster now comes way behind crayfish, shrimp, giant prawn, Dungeness crab and most kinds of fish. So to sum it up lobster ain't bad, but only if someone else is paying.

Your Favorite Meat or Protein?

Sausages are my favorite kind of meat. The spicy Italian link with hot and sweet peppers. The grilled brat with beer braised onions. Kielbasa weselna sliced up and pan-braised with green beans. Chinese xiang chang in fried rice with egg and scallion. Borewors fragrant with allspice, charred casing split and dripping fat hot off the charcoal. And of course the good old all-beef hot dog with ballpark mustard on a steamed poppy seed bun. Better than dry-aged steak in my opinion.

What would be in your perfect picnic basket?

Step 1: Go to the Italian deli and pick up a sub. Mortadella, proscuitto, salami, provolone, hot giardinera, and dressed lettuce on fresh coal oven-baked bread

Step 2: Let the sub sit in the wrapper for a couple hours so the vinegar and oil soak into the bread

Step 3: Grab a six pack of San Pellegrino blood orange and head for Palmisano Park. Climb the hill and enjoy the view of the Chicago skyline over the expressway traffic roaring by.

MEAT DONENESS -- then and now

I don't need to add anything more, you just described my childhood steaks and pork chops perfectly.

These days I like a medium rare steak but my burgers have to be at least medium well. Not a fan of undercooked ground meat and fat, it has a pasty texture that's not at all like that of a rare steak.

Achieving a Good Steak Crust?

The important thing is to let the outer layers dry out first. That way the steak doesn't waste any time steaming away surface moisture when it hits the hot pan. Salt the steak and let it rest, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. The surface should be slightly tacky when it's ready. Do a slow, gentle roast in a low oven to gently bring the interior up to target temp; this will dry out the exterior even more. Finally, sear in a hot cast iron pan, no extra fat needed.

Aug 04, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

almost lost potatoes??

I find that freezing can actually improve hash browns. They seem to cook into a lighter, fluffier texture after being frozen. I would parboil, shred, form into patties with shredded onion and freeze. Keep the patties seperate with was paper so they're ready to go when you need them.

Aug 04, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

How to fry potstickers without burning the bottoms?

There's your problem. Cooking potstickers in a stainless pan is an exercise in masochism. Use nonstick or cast iron and a lot of your problems will go away. A good steel spatula with a thin, rigid blade to get under the dumplings helps a lot too.

Aug 04, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

HAMBURGERS! Home Cooking Dish of the Month for August 2014

Thin, crispy diner style onion burgers are my favorite kind. Heat up a cast iron skillet til it's smoking, then use a heavy spatula to flatten a 3 oz ball of ground chuck into the hot metal. Press a mound of thin- sliced onion into the top of the patty. Cook for 1 minute, then flip it so the onions are now on the bottom soaking up the brown bits in the pan. Top with American cheese and both halves of a kaiser bun in the pan, then cover and reduce heat to med-low until the onions brown. Scrape the whole thing out and assemble with dill pickles and yellow mustard.

Heating the buns with the patty in the pan is important because the onion steam comes up through the layers and helps everything meld together into a savory, gooey whole. It's a greasy, non fancy old school delight.

Authentic Chinese Beef and Broccoli

In that case, you can try a little bit of fermented black bean in the stir-fry. I think that might go well with the classic broccoli and beef flavors.

That fish looks great. I had a crab curry in India that was so spicy I thought I was gonna die, but the flavors were so good I couldn't stop eating. I grew up eating Taiwanese and Cantonese food but getting greasy chinese-american takeout was always a real treat. General Tso's, chicken lo mein, and big fat blistered egg rolls stuffed with cabbage were my favorites. Broccoli in our house was always just blanched and stir-fried with ginger; we never combined it with meat.

Aug 01, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Authentic Chinese Beef and Broccoli

I 100% disagree. World cuisines are too broad to make a statement like this. Would you make the same sweeping statement about South Asian dishes smothered in spices? I've had crab, shrimp and fish curries that in terms of sheer eating pleasure beat the crap out of any sashimi, any day.

OP, our Chinese family never made beef and broccoli at home growing up. So "authentic" is kind of a fuzzy target. Don't worry about it. Just pass your marinated (cornstarch, soy, pepper, sugar) beef briefly through the hot oil, add sliced ginger and blanched broccoli florets, then add the beef back in when the vegetables are almost done stir-frying. Finish by adding your sauce, then toss to coat when it thickens. The sauce/binder I use is 1 part stock, 1 part shaoxing wine, 1 part oyster sauce, and a couple pinches of sugar and cornstarch.

Aug 01, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Do you have a favorite canned chili, spicy with no beans?

Wolf, and Chili Man are both good for a quick chili dog lunch if you spike em up with some hot sauce and vinegar.

TUBE-o-hamburger?

That stuff is OK, but I wouldn't make burgers with it. A good burger needs a coarse grind and loose internal structure, but that tube stuff has a mealy, dense grind from being packed into the plastic. It's OK for meatballs, meatloaf or kebab, where you're working the meat and mixing seasonings into it.

Gene and Georgetti vs Erie Cafe for steak

I have to be the dissenter on this. I've eaten at a bunch of steakhouses around town like Chicago Cut, Primehouse, etc. and G&G is still my favorite. Maybe this marks me as a beef eating rube but quite frankly the food at these high end steakhouses is all pretty much the same: a steak, a basket of bread, some crappy expensive sides. With dry aged meat I guess there's a little difference but I wouldn't want to try and pick it out in a blind taste test. As long as the kitchen knows how to hit that perfect medium rare with a nice dark crust I'll walk away happy. SO, to me, what you are paying for at a steakhouse is the atmosphere and the feeling, more so than the food itself. And in that respect the vintage dining room at G&G can't be beat.

Jul 24, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Chicago Area

Hot Dogs & Pizza in Chicago

I commend you for exposing your kids to more locally owned independent joints. You know that visiting a hot dog stand is about more than the food, it's the experience too. So let me recommend a couple places. Jeff's Red Hots on Cicero Ave is a cool old stand on the Northwest Side. It has a beautiful old sign and it's always filled with neighborhood regulars. There's an elevated toy train that runs around the interior, I bet your kids would love that. Jeff's is also notable for offering sauerkraut, which I have not found at any other Chicago area place. Their dogs are excellent, but if you ask for a one "with everything" you get a forkful of kraut along with the other Chicago style toppings. I really like it but they're happy to leave it off if you ask.

The other stand I'd recommend is Suzie's Drive-In on Montrose. If you told a Hollywood set designer to build the archetypal neon-encrusted 50s-era Americana hot dog stand it still wouldn't look as good as Suzie's does. Go at night for the full pastel neon glow. The hot dog here is not bad, not great but it's worth the trip for the ambiance alone. They also have a dessert menu with I swear like 50 different milkshakes on it.

Jul 24, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Chicago Area

Why Don't the Chinese Eat Outside?

Eating outside in a major Chinese city is generally a gross, dirty experience. People spitting everywhere, horns honking, and each mouthful you take is at least 50% car exhaust and cigarette smoke. This ambience is acceptable for a 4-yuan street jianbing or malatang but not for a table service restaurant meal. Also many people simply lack outdoor spaces in their small city apartments to eat outside.

Some posters talked about Chinese people hiding from the sun and that is 100% true in my experience. In Beijing we used to joke that the pollution was generated on purpose to block out the evil, skin-darkening sun. Yet another factor keeping Chinese diners indoors.

Bringing My Own Knife to Restaurants from now on. -_-

Yes, and a sharp knife also lets you make the slices as thin as you want. Thinner slices = more slices = more surface area = more enjoyment. Geez do I think about this stuff too much?

Basically anything that can be done with a dull knife can be done more easily, with better results, with a sharp knife. Well except opening an oyster maybe.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Cookware
1

Bringing My Own Knife to Restaurants from now on. -_-

You don't need a sharp knife to cut a good steak, but a sharp knife makes eating even the most tender steak much more pleasurable.

What would you offer on these Cast Iron frying pans?

$15 for all that is quite a steal. Used cast iron sells for far less than it's worth.

I picked up my cast iron skillet at a flea market. I asked how much. "$4", the guy said. I gave him a five. He got this guilty look on his face, like he's ripping me off or something, and he gave me $2 back. I went home, scoured out the rust and reseasoned it, and it's been giving great service ever since.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Cookware

Bringing My Own Knife to Restaurants from now on. -_-

Nice blade choice tangoking. My carbon steel Opinel also goes in my pocket whenever I head out the door. That thin blade really works well for cutting sandwiches and slicing meat. I definitely get some ignorant comments from dining companions when I pull it out for steaks and such but it's worth it when I watch them sawing away with the provided butter knives.

I think restaurants set out dull knives for liability reasons. They may squash sandwiches and tear meat but it's less likely some numbnuts will provoke a lawsuit by slicing his finger off.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Cookware
1

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

Work in progress my friend.