RealMenJulienne's Profile

Title Last Reply

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.

about 7 hours ago
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.

about 11 hours ago
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.

Jul 25, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics
1

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.

Jul 25, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

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.

Jul 23, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

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.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Cookware
4

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.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking
1

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

Forgot to respond to this thread. Thanks for the advice everyone. Head on, shell on shrimp soaked in ice salt water, then simply grilled and brushed with garlic butter were a real hit.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking
3

Do you grill with aluminum foil (and no, it's not what you're thinking of)

"The only real difference is that you don't get the grill marks on the food, but so what? "

No, the difference is that if you put down the layer of foil there is no interaction between food and fire, thus making the whole grilling exercise pointless in the first place. There is no culinary benefit to turning your grill into a flimsy aluminum griddle.

The better way to control flare-ups is to build a two-zone fire so you can move food between hot and cool sides. You can also smother fires by closing your vents and your grill lid.

Jul 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
1

Famous foods from your region you find tasty and delicious.

My east/west coast friends don't believe me when I talk about the Mexican food in Chicago. I fully believe that Chicago's Mexican food is on par with what you can get in LA. Not the shiny Bayless joints, but the down home westside eateries.

Agree on the Italian beef sandwich with hot giardiniera. This is the Chicago food that deserves to be nationally famous. But maybe it's a blessing in disguise. It would be a shame if it got bastardized in the way of the Philly cheeseteak.

Jul 14, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Famous Regional Food you find embarrassing or disgusting?

Even in the "thick" Chicago pizza category, there are sub-divisions. I am not a fan of the "classic" deep dish and stuffed pizza joints like Malnatis, Giordano's, etc because they all use a fatty, dense crust that's almost like shortbread. It's the wrong vehicle for pizza flavors in my opinion. But here and there around town there are thick pizzas which I quite like. For example Pequod's and D'Amatos bakery make excellent pan pizzas which have a crisp, greasy under crust combined with a stretchy, bubbly crumb. These are the Chicago pizza places worth celebrating.

Jul 10, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Overcooked Chicken Breasts - Help

For overcooked white meat poultry, thin slice against the grain and lay it in the serving pan with hot - not simmering - stock or broth. The meat will absorb a good bit of moisture and won't cook any further. This is good for meals like Thanksgiving turkey because it doesn't alter the meat's flavor too much.

Jul 10, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking
3

Potato Salad - What Lurks

Hi, for me the crunchy stuff like celery and pickles belongs in tuna salad. Potato salad is about the creaminess and the tang. And of course those tasty tasty green peas.

That French version sounds great, I'll try it next time.

Jul 09, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Famous Regional Food you find embarrassing or disgusting?

I don't hate Chicago deep dish pizza but I don't get the love either. The ingredients are typically excellent, but I feel that the pastry-like crust of the classic deep dish is all wrong for those flavors. I don't really know how it became the iconic Chicago food but everyone wants to try it when they come visit.

In my mind the Chicago specialty that really deserves to be famous is the Italian beef sandwich.

Jul 08, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics
4

Potato Salad - What Lurks

Peazza :P

Jul 08, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Potato Salad - What Lurks

Peas are indeed a popular pizza topping in East Asia but I realize that's not exactly a great endorsement. I have been known to make a toaster oven pizza bagel out of leftover spaghetti sauce with peas, which might fit your definition.

Jul 08, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Potato Salad - What Lurks

The carrots are cooked with the potato until tender, and the green peas get added right at the end so they just cook through. They pop in the mouth like little vegetable caviars. Potato salad without peas is like spaghetti sauce without peas; a sad sad waste of an opportunity to eat peas.

Jul 08, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Potato Salad - What Lurks

Crunchy stuff like apples doesn't belong in potato salad. Neither do sweet things like pineapple. Potato salad in our house is red potatoes, carrots, green peas, eggs, yellow mustard and a little mayo (Kewpie preferably)

Jul 08, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Yuba, dried beancurd or tofu skin... where can you get it in Chicago?

Joong Boo Korean market in Avondale. Just north of Belmont and Kimball, under the expressway. Look for the green sign. Also, just an excellent Asian grocery all around.

Chinatown Market in uhh.. Chinatown. Just off the Chinatown/Cermak Red Line stop. Their parking lot is under construction so I would plan to take the Red Line or else you'll have to park in the public lot across the street (no validation)

Jul 07, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Chicago Area

Best condiment to throw on a hot dog?

Chicago dogs are some of my favorite but I almost never have all that stuff on hand at home. I'm always out of pickles when I have peppers, etc.

I recently tried sauerkraut on a Chicago dog, along with all the other toppings, at a place called Jeff's Red Hots on Pulaski. Surprisingly it's really good, one of my top 5 dogs for sure.

Jul 03, 2014
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

That's the idea.

I think the plan has now been revised to: soak shrimp in ice salt water, devein and partial butterfly but leave heads and shells on, sprinkle with a little red pepper, brush on garlic butter while grilling, and serve with lime wedges.

Jul 03, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking
1

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

Looks like I got a lot of NOs for marinating in acid. Is it harmful even if done for a short time?

What about a glaze containing lime juice that's brushed on while grilling? My instincts always tell me to pair acid with seafood but I'm willing to be wrong about this.

Jul 03, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

So salt brine, but no baking soda huh? Does the soda really not enhance the crunchiness?

Jul 03, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

Thanks for the response. This girl is not prissy about her shellfish so that's not a problem. What kind of dry seasoning would you use in lieu of marinade?

Jul 02, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Questions on grilled shrimp skewers

Grilled shrimp is something I really like but seldom make, probably because I’m usually too lazy to light a chimney of charcoal for something that takes only a couple of minutes to cook. I’ve got non-meat eaters coming for the July 4th cookout though, one of them a cute gal I wouldn’t mind impressing, so I want to make some excellent shrimp skewers for the party. Some questions:

1)White Shrimp or Black Tiger Shrimp?

2) Shells and heads on or off? I plan to cut a slit up the back of the shells to remove the grit, but leave the heads/shells still on, so the meat puffs out when it hits the grill. Good plan?

3) How long to marinade before the shrimp gets too mushy or salty? My marinade mix: 1 part lime juice and 1 part fish sauce. Lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, red chile, sugar to taste.

4) Should I soak the shrimp in baking soda? Some restaurants do this to make the shrimp crunchier for stir fry, but does it work for the grill?

Jul 02, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking