RealMenJulienne's Profile

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The food's terrible...and such large portions

"I know people who just really don't care about food, so long as it's cheap and they give you lots of it."

Hey, do we know each other somehow? I am this guy from time to time. Sometimes I just want to eat a shit load of food, waddle home and then fall asleep on the couch. The ultimate confluence of cheap and gross is probably Pizza Hut lunch buffet. The price is low, the quality is bad (and it gets worse under the heat lamps), and the quantity is unlimited (by definition).

And whoa whoa please lay off Old Country Buffet. I grew up loving it because it was the only place we got to eat “American” food; the rest of the time it was healthy home-cooked Chinese stuff at our house. Even now, I would still rather go to OCB for $7.99 breakfast than get dragged to some god damn trendy brunch place and pay $15 for an omelet (something that happens all too often these days as many of my friends are yuppie and female).

about 22 hours ago
RealMenJulienne in Chains

Chicago: you finally have your own Olive Garden!

Funny, that location is close to my house, I see it on my commute. They basically built it right in the middle of Little Mexico, a safe distance from any decent Italian restaurant. The only restaurant options around there are fast food, a crappy Chinese buffet and Little Caesar's so i can see it doing quite well.

about 22 hours ago
RealMenJulienne in Chains

Does your city have an International District/Chinatown?

Chicago has a Chinatown but it’s not that big compared to NY or West Coast cities. It is mostly Cantonese restaurants with a sprinkling of specialty places from other regions like Szechwan and Hunan. Argyle St, Lawrence Ave and Devon Ave on the North sides are our little Vietnam, Korea and India, respectively.

A lot of the West Side is heavily Hispanic. I would put our taquerias up against any place I’ve tried in LA.

The South Side is mostly Black American with Mississippi roots. So you see a lot of fried fish, chicken and shrimp joints, as well as soul food places. There also seems to be more of the old school blue collar ffood stands, taverns and diners on the South Side.

A lot of the old White ethnic neighborhoods have changed in makeup as their inhabitants moved to the suburbs. Little Italy and “Jewtown” are now gentrified student housing. Greek Town is a just single row of restaurants. Bridgeport, the historic cradle of Chicago-Irish corruption, is turning Chinese and Mexican. Ukrainian Village is a mostly assimilated white-collar transplant neighborhood. There are still many Poles on the northwest side, which means there are still delicious Polish restaurants hanging on here and there.

about 22 hours ago
RealMenJulienne in General Topics

Will my pizza dough keep overnight?

This seems strange to me. Ifyou've gone to the trouble of cold fermenting a great batch of dough, why would you run a roller over it and intentionally deflate the bubble structure? I don’t doubt your results but I learned to hand stretch, to press the dough down as little as possible and to never roll it out.

To the OP, I would not punch down before refrigerating, and yes you'll probably find that it tastes better tomorrow. When I do a cold rise the dough always seems to taste the best at about day #3, then the dough texture starts to drop off after that.

Sep 29, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Lo Mein using spaghetti?

Depends what you are going for. If you like the strip mall super-Americanized lo mein with brown sauce (and I do), then spaghetti may be the way to go. I think the "Great Wall Dragon Garden Express" take out joints are actually using cheap spaghetti, not any kind of actual Chinese mian. I made a thread about this a long time ago that got some really helpful responses:

Sep 26, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Best way to cook rainbow trout?

I think this way, grilling over charcoal, is the best way to cook medium-sized whole fish. I like to add some scallion stalks and lemon slices in the belly cavity, then tie it up with butcher's twine so the stuffing doesn't fall out when I turn it.

Sep 19, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Gumbo question

If a couple turkey wings had enough salt to saturate a pot of broth, hell that is a lot of salt and it would be enough for me to switch turkey wing suppliers.

If you want to keep using those wings, just add some extra (unsmoked) bones to the stock pot and increase the amount of water you use. That will dilute the saltiness.

Finally, make sure you're not adding any salt to your trinity/roux while sweating it down. Then when you add your salty broth it will even out to just right.

Sep 19, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

World's Best Mustard? Please stake your claim.

The Poles make the best mustard on the planet. It has the perfect balance of heat, sweet and pungent flavors. Sorry I know everyone has an opinion on this controversial subject but in this case the only correct opinion is that Polish mustard is the best.

I like Kamis Rosyjska in the green bottle but just walk into the Polish grocery, pick a jar at random and it's hard to go wrong.

Polished Cast Iron--The Way It's Supposed to Be

I have a Debuyer carbon steel skillet and a cast iron skillet, brand unknown. Both have a smooth finish and an even black seasoning.

I like the cast iron skillet a lot better. The seasoning is much more durable and it is more nonstick. Eggs and pot stickers are no problem in the cast iron but they are tricky in the Debuyer. The only advantage to the carbon steel is lighter weight and quicker heat response.

Sep 16, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Cookware

Help with sandwich buffet for birthday...

Great suggestion. Someone brought a giant muffaleta to a BBQ this weekend and that thing got better and better as the olive oil soaked into the bread over the course of the afternoon. Do to the high acid olive salad and salt-cured meats inside it I don’t think there's much in there that can easily spoil at room temperatures.

Sep 15, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Using deboned chicken drumsticks as kebabs

Update: I ended up using a 50-50 mix of thighs and deboned drumsticks for the kebabs. The deboned drumsticks turned out well but they took a lot of trimming to get all the gnarly bits out so I'm not sure it was worth the bother.

Sep 15, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

What kind of vinegars do you keep on hand?

Rice vinegar - general purpose. Usually used for Chinese pan sauces and quick pickling

Chinkiang black vinegar - more robustly flavored Chinese stir fries and pan braises. Also hot and sour soup.

Cider vinegar - most meat marinades, bbq sauce

Red wine vinegar - actually this is just an old soured wine bottle I should probably throw away. Kind of scared to use it.

Basalmic vinegar - only used for salad dressing

White vinegar - only used to clean fixtures, and to brine vegetables for giardinera. Gotta have that sour blast of flavor for true Chicago-style giard

Sep 12, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Using deboned chicken drumsticks as kebabs

Yep, that's how I've grilled chicken thighs in the past. Then I had a nice pile of meaty thigh bones to add to my stock-making repository in the freezer.

Sep 12, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Using deboned chicken drumsticks as kebabs

A couple reasons. Cutting meat off the bone opens up more surface area for the marinade to work on. It also presents a flatter shape on the grill, which helps the dark meat to cook evenly. I've found that grilling whole drumsticks takes a lot of micromanagement and turning to get them cooked all the way through. Finally, the main reason is that the Pakistani restaurant I'm trying to emulate serves this chicken as kebabs and I'm trying to get as close as possible.

Sep 12, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Using deboned chicken drumsticks as kebabs

I've done this before too, making chicken lollipops on the smoker. What I want to do this time is different. I want to take the chicken meat completely off the bone, then marinate and skewer for kebabs. So it will be high, direct heat instead of low and slow.


Sep 12, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Using deboned chicken drumsticks as kebabs

I'm going to make Pakistani yogurt-marinated chicken kebabs for a cookout this weekend. The marinade is simple but good: plain yogurt, lemon juice, cilantro, green chile, and salt. I usually use chicken thighs in this preparation but my neighborhood market has chicken drumsticks on sale today.

Is there any drawback to using deboned drumstick meat in place of chicken thighs? I know the leg meat has more tendons and silver skin in it; will that stuff get tough grilled over a hot charcoal fire?

Sep 12, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

You know, when I was in Paris for a wedding last year I saw some of those Chinese buffets. The food was held cold in deli-style trays behind a glass window and they charged by the KG. I must admit that even for a buffet aficionado like me it looked pretty disgusting. But I will take your word that there are good ones.

Can you imagine crab rangoons filled with a blend of fine French cheeses?

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

I would take them to a Chinese buffet. I think it can be argued, that the Chinese buffet is the quintessential American restaurant. First of all, they are ubiquitous. There are small towns all over this country where you will not find a single hot dog stand, independent burger joint, ice cream parlor, pizzeria, soda fountain or diner, but you're sure to find at least one Chinese buffet in the nearest strip mall.

Second, nothing served in a Chinese buffet is found in China. In fact you won't find General Tso's chicken, beef and broccoli, crab rangoon, sugar-crusted fried biscuits, or those bright red chicken kebabs anywhere but the USA. These are all truly American dishes of pure American origins.

Third, the gluttony factor. Overeating is our national pastime.

Fourth, and most important of all, I love Chinese buffets. I grew up eating at these places and I have many great memories of Chinese buffet meals. I even have affection for the shitty ones, but when I find a good one it's like Christmas morning come early. So basically taking a foreign visitor would be my excuse to go to one.

want to know Chinese style of making aubergines? Help

This is what my mom used to do. You could call it "yu xiang" style but that seems too dogmatic for such a simple homestyle recipe.

1) Quarter 2 Japanese eggplants lengthwise, then chop them into 2-inch logs. Gently stir fry them in a large skillet with a little vegetable oil until the start getting spots of brown.

2) In the meantime, mince your aromatics: 2 cloves garlic, about a thumb's worth of ginger, 4 stalks of scallions, 1 red chile. When eggplants are slightly brown, push them over to the side of the pan to seperate them, add a little more oil and stir-fry the minced aromatics for about a minute.

3) Add a spoonful of black bean paste, a splash of xiaoxing wine and soy sauce each, and a pinch of sugar. Simmer down about a minute. Toss to mix the eggplant with the pan sauce and cook 1 more minute. OPTIONAL: To thicken the sauce, make a slurry of 1 part cornstarch 2 parts cold water and gradually add to the pan until sauce reaches right thickness.

4) Serve garnished with chopped cilantro, aside steamed rice.

Sep 09, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Question about unique idea on grinding my own beef -- has anyone tried this?

I saw a cooking show where the host was grinding his own beef for burgers. For germ-phobic viewers, he suggested briefly dipping the cut into boiling water to kill surface bacteria before grinding. I think this surface sear of yours would accomplish the same thing while adding flavor. Go for it, I can't really see a downside!

Sep 05, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Your Cost For Ingredients To Make The Day's Dinner?

Sunday dinner: hot and sour soup, yu xiang eggplant, pan-fried perch and stir fried green beans. Let’s see.

Tofu: $1
Mushrooms: $3
Day lilies: $2
Eggs: $.50
Eggplants: $2
Scallions, garlic, ginger: $2
Perch fillets: $5
Green beans: $3
Steamed rice: $1
Salt, sugar, white pepper, red chile, black vinegar, chicken stock, soy sauce, xiaoxing wine: probably $2 at the most.

3 people ate for about $7 per person. Not bad but not great either.

Hamburger buns: "Ideal"? recipe

Thanks for putting this together. I am not much of a baker but I'll try this and report back.

I feel pretty strongly about burger buns too. My ideal is a store-bought kaiser roll that's steamed in the pan or on the griddle with the beef patties and onions. The steaming step is important because it makes the bread soft and stretchy, as well as melding the whole sandwich together into a cohesive whole.

Aug 29, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

Roasting joint for Chilli?

I think beef shank is one of the best chili cuts. It's a lean muscle, but it's loaded with tendons that dissolve after long cooking to create a richly textured broth. You can find it at the Asian or Mexican grocer, and ideally you will find it cut crosswise so you get a section of bone with your cut. Trim the meat off the bone, remove the silverskin, cube it and brown it before braising. Don't forget to add the bone cross section during the simmer stage, to cook out some of that marrow and gelatin.

Cubed pork shoulder is also a great cut for both green and red chili, but you have to be more judicious about trimming the excess fat or you'll end up with greasy stew.

Aug 26, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

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.

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.

Aug 21, 2014
RealMenJulienne in Home Cooking

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.

Any other hunters/shooters here?

"I own a lot of guns, but only shoot at 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