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Traci Des Jardins's Caramel Sauce

Fowl language?

What the cluck?

Nov 02, 2009
Billow Fair in Recipes

Does Sushi rice make good risotto?

By regular you mean long grain I suppose?

Aug 01, 2009
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Does Sushi rice make good risotto?

I've read that Arborio rice isn't necessary for a good risotto, and that most medium grain rices will work fine. That's alright with me because my local markets want to charge a lot more for Arborio.

Anyone tried sushi rice for risotto? Any changes to a regular risotto recipe?

Aug 01, 2009
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Keeping red potatoes red

After boiling (or steaming) my red potatoes look brownish and not very appealing. Does anyone know how to keep them bright red?

Nov 30, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Knife Sharpening help

Hey Yaya, I'm a recent convert to the Wicked Edge sharpener. I never owned an EdgePro but everyone says nothing but good things about them.
The Wicked Edge with all the bells and whistles is Stupid expensive, but in contrast to the EdgePro, it lets you sharpen both sides of the blade at once. In addition, when you sharpen in the future you can return the blade to the exact same place it was on first sharpening which minimizes metal loss, and it's almost idiot-proof (lucky me!)

A truly sharp knife is a joy in the kitchen. My knives now make paper thin slices of fibrous things like ginger "like budda"

Aug 28, 2008
Billow Fair in Cookware

What is THE dish to judge a cuisine by?

Good bread (and warm) in the breadbasket.
Cool but not cold butter - not in foil
Recently washed and well dried greens in a salad that has not been refrigerated - or over dressed.
A simple syrup to sweeten my iced tea shows me that they sweat the small things.
A menu that is small enough for the dishes to be individually cared about

A restaurant like that could serve any cuisine and be one of my favorite places.

Aug 25, 2008
Billow Fair in General Topics

What's the best sharpening steel?

Are there knife forums on Chow? I just googled knife sharpening forums and wound up on a site with Jason and Freddie discussing chainsaw sharpening.

Aug 19, 2008
Billow Fair in Cookware

What's the best sharpening steel?

Who makes the best sharpening steel? I have two, one from Chicago Cutlery, which was never too good and I think is worn out (does that even happen?) and the other is from Haverhills (also ancient). Neither one seems to get any 'bite' anymore, even on a newly sharpened knife.

I've seen newer ones that are diamond, or ceramic, or even one that looks as if it's flat, not round. Which are the advantages/disadvantages of different materials? Which are best for the knives?

Aug 19, 2008
Billow Fair in Cookware

Foods: once common, but now luxury

When we all lined up for raw fish and warm wine they realized we'd pay a lot for anything presented properly. Personally I remember my mother preparing nice thick lamb chops pretty frequently; now they're prohibitive. As for the short ribs, not only are they expensive, the ones at my local store are half bone and rather fatty. When salmon is less than $10 a pound, it's the tail piece that is not uniform in thickness and more difficult to cook. Get used to it, it's gonna get worse.

Jun 28, 2008
Billow Fair in General Topics

lemons .99 ea. in Hunterdon County NJ...

Lemons have really gotten much more expensive in the last few years (just as avocados have) for no apparent reason. Lemon trees are prolific, year-round producers, so I just don't understand why they are far more per pound than oranges and limes. Anyone know about lemon growing?

Jun 28, 2008
Billow Fair in General Topics

what makes a good tortilla chip?

Personally, I like the Santitas brand white corn restaurant style. They seem to have better corn flavor and texture than many. They're made by Frito-Lay ans should be available nationally. I believe they were also the favorite of America's Test Kitchen.

Jun 28, 2008
Billow Fair in General Topics

Fresh Ground Burger Help

I second Scubadoo for the chuck. For turkey I prefer about half and half thigh and breast. I've never done lamb, but I would guess shoulder would be better than leg, unless there's too much connective tissue. Be sure to have the meat very cold and put grinder parts in the freezer for 15 minutes or so just before grinding. The colder the better.

Grinding your own is absolutely the way to go. How many of you have noticed that store-bought ground meat is tasteless compared to say, 20 years ago?

Jun 26, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

How do you do Tri Tip?

...Oops, also a gastronomic treat.

Jun 26, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

How do you do Tri Tip?

A Gastromonic treat: garlic powder, salt and pepper. 10 minutes on grill over direct heat, 10-15 over indirect. Rest 15 mins. Slice thinly against grain.

Remove your hat and consume while kneeing with head bowed.

Jun 26, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

What's good to get 2nd-hand? Or ... not?

Cruise garage sales for an old hot air corn popper, the perfect thing for toasting nuts and spices.

Jun 16, 2008
Billow Fair in Cookware

Bittman says: eat less meat!

I agree that Industrial meat is bad for us and the planet. However, 15% of our continental land masses are grasslands not suitable for cultivation. Grassfed beef is far better for you than the cornfed feedlot stuff, so try to eat better, grassfed beef (although if your wallet is like mine better = less because the cost is higher).

Anyone who has ever eaten a home grown vine-ripened tomato knows that grocery store food (including 20 month old (at slaughter) beef, 6 week old chicken and poultry farmed eggs) doesn't taste like real food anymore, but there's well over 6 billion of us to feed and we really don't have much choice...unless we start making Soylent Green.

Jun 11, 2008
Billow Fair in Not About Food

Your worst service experience?

I read 'Midlife's' post and had to add my own. Christmas Eve at Castaway, another pretend-to-be-nice restaurant In the San Fernando Valley with a good view as it's main attraction. We were a party of 6. I can only assume they had trouble getting anyone competent to work the holiday. The restaurant was busy, but not mobbed. We were ignored all evening. We had to eventually scrounge our own water pitcher from the wait station and salt and pepper shakers from another table. When a couple of our party ordered rice with their main course instead of potatoes (there was a choice on the menu), everything came with potatoes and everything had rice on the side. Nothing was properly cooked to order. I kept looking around for Gordon Ramsey, thinking we had wandered into Hell's Kitchen in an early season episode. Then my SIL ordered a second glass of red wine and it was served in a white wine glass and the waiter said (I'm not kidding) "You may want to pour this into your fancy glass" (the empty red wine glass that had not been cleared.)...he was wearing a suit. It actually went downhill from there and ended with me complaining to the manager and the bill being halved. I even left a 10% tip; 5% on what the total should have been. Heck, it was Christmas.

Jun 11, 2008
Billow Fair in Not About Food

Do You "Bone" or "Debone" a Chicken?

As a CA guy about to move to NJ, I couldn't stop laughing about the "What do you want?" remark. The grocery store staff in most CA markets in almost annoying in their insistence on greeting absolutely everyone with whom they make eye contact. In NJ the checkout person is much more likely to be an ill-trained part time teenager who doesn't speak to you at all, but the quality and selection of food in a good ShopRite blows Vons and Ralphs into the weeds. In NJ you bag your own groceries, in CA you pump your own gas. Different strokes...

Jun 11, 2008
Billow Fair in Not About Food

kitchen anxiety disorder

You don't mention this, but I learned the hard way never to 'guinea pig' guests on an untried recipe no matter how easy the prep seems and fabulous the presentation looks. Have a repitoire of 'foolproof' meals for company, got to a good bakery for dinner rolls and dessert, and do what EdAd says..do ahead whatever you can.

The probability of messing something up is directly proportional to the importance of the guest.

Jun 11, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

My Mac n Cheese isn't creamy! ideas?

greygarious among others nailed it. Velveeta and evaporated milk have stabilizers that help prevent cheese from 'breaking' and getting gritty. The cream and roux will also work if you lower your oven temp a little and don't overcook the mac. The water bath is also an attempt to lower the heat in the oven a little. If you're not using an egg and everything going into the mac is already cooked, just 30 minutes at 250 with a blast under the broiler for browning should do the trick (if if the mac isn't physically really thick.

May 28, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Fiddleheads

According to Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, Pteridium Aequilinum is the common fiddlehead enjoyed in Japan and Korea that contains a 'potent DNA damaging chemical, and should be avoided.' That's probably where the toxic story originates. He also says that Ostrich ferns of the matteuccia family are thought to be safer.

May 23, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Best Fresh Fish Market in Pasadena area?

I also vote for Fish King. They supply some of the better restaurants in the area, I have heard. Also, I have been disappointed with Whole Foods on more than one occasion, and with the regular Ralphs...where in the past I have received stinky fish and freezer burned frozen seafood too. Now I always ask to smell the fish, a good policy.

Apr 02, 2008
Billow Fair in Los Angeles Area

Lost recipe: Bon appetit Jan 08 r.s.v.p

ok
Make a lemony mayonnaise with the juice.
Saute shallots garlic and red pepper a couple of minutes. Add wine and reduce by half. Add tomatoes and simmer till thickened, add salt and pepper to taste. let cool.

Sprinkle breasts (chicken) with salt and pepper, dredge in mixture of cayenne and flour, dip in egg cheese and basil.

Brown in skillet, in butter and oil, in batches, place on rack in 250 oven to keep warm and cook remiaining chicken.
Toast baguettes in skillet,on one side in remaining butter and oil, spread with tomato mixture. Place chicken in shallow bowls (2 each) top with lemon mayo. then add spinach, capers and finish with lemon juice, olive oil and any remaining lemon mayo and the cheese, salt and pepper. Tuck a baguette in each bowl.

Mar 24, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Lost recipe: Bon appetit Jan 08 r.s.v.p

Posting copyirghted recipes is a no-no, but I can give you the ingredient list...

½ cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper 1/2 cup dry white wine es
2 14 ½-ounce cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
½ cup all purpose flour
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons butter
4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut horizontally in half
2 4-inch pieces baguette, halved horizontally
4 cups fresh spinach (about 2 ounces)
4 teaspoons drained capers Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

Mar 24, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

pasta as pie weights.

I use clean pennies frequently for pie weights. Everyone has a handful in a jar somewhere and they conduct heat beautifully and have plenty of weight. 100 is just about right for a lie crust. Perhaps if they stop making them I can sell them for $3.99 per hundred as Presidential Copper Pie Weights!

Mar 24, 2008
Billow Fair in Home Cooking

Can a picky eater be a Chowhound?

I suppose being picky makes it more difficult, and being a "chowhound" does imply a love of food in general. On the other hand you don't have to be Andrew Zimmern to be a chowhound either. I think I'm probably more adverturous than most, when it comes to food, but I am married to a spouse who, despite her many wonderful qualities, prefers her poultry cooked dry and leathery, likes hot dogs but won't eat sausages...and on and on.

So, to answer your question, IMHO it's the enthusiasm for food that makes a chowhound. If your enthusiasm is limited to a few foods then you are a "focused" chowhound, but a chowhound nevertheless.

Mar 21, 2008
Billow Fair in Not About Food

Palmdale/Lancaster/Antelope Valley Eats

Maybe it was La Chene, memory isn't what it used to be...heck, it was never great. The chef/owner was an the sous chef from some fancy-pants (Swedish?) restaurant in BH. I'll have to drive out there some weekend soon.

Mar 06, 2008
Billow Fair in California

Who Makes Trader Joe's Food?

TJ's is wonderful! I love it for great dairy prices (and the only place I can find cream that's NOT ultra-pastuerized). Some of their other products are a little, um, unusual, but I find them fun to try (like the Mochi ice cream balls - how cool are they?)

$2 Chuck has always amazed me; NO it's not great wine, but it's flaws certainly don't make it undrinkable. I've had far worse wines that cost many times more. I worked in the CA wine industry for a number of years and still find it hard to understand how they can buy grapes, bottle, cork, capsule, label, carton, shipping and overhead and still have a profit for both CS and TJ at $2.99.

Many years ago I taught a wine course (pre-Charles Shaw, I think) where a $1.99 private label TJ Zinfandel won a tasting hands down. Of course, you can find some horrid little wines there too. Hard to beat the D'aquino dry vermouth as an everyday cooking white wine.

That being said, just slowly back away from the Kroger packaged cheese at Ralphs.

Mar 06, 2008
Billow Fair in Features

Palmdale/Lancaster/Antelope Valley Eats

At the risk of showing my age (and how long it's been since I frequented the desert) is La Sere still there? (Sierra Hwy near Acton) I had a couple of great meals there.

Mar 03, 2008
Billow Fair in California

Meatball subs in the San Fernando Valley

I've been eating at Tony's for over 20 years. The original is on Magnolia and still run by original owner (I believe). They opened a second on Glenoaks at Allen and the owner's son ran it. A few years later they moved that one to Glenoaks and Alameda. That location is now owned by an ex-employee who didn't change a thing. Great meatball subs and they sell their fabulous sauce by the quart.

Feb 28, 2008
Billow Fair in Los Angeles Area