a

Ace_Mclean's Profile

Title Last Reply

Which seasoning/spices to buy?

I'll agree with the pepper mill suggestion, and consider kosher salt and perhaps a container for it.

Dec 11, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

COOKBOOK RECOMENDATION FOR YOUNG, BEGINNING COOK

How 'bout The all New Good Housekeeping Cookbook.http://www.amazon.com/New-Good-Housek...

It's got a wide variety of recipes and simple tips on basic cooking. My wife and I still use it regularly after almost 8 years.

Dec 10, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Onion soup without beef stock?

I don't see why it couldn't be made by replacing the beef stock with chicken stock. When I was in Argentina, the French onion soup was clearly chicken broth based with lot's of wine flavor. This was a little add considering the emphasis on beef there. But it was delicious.

Dec 10, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Christmas Ham

Perhaps some kinnd of couscous, either warm or as a salad? Sugar snap peas? Maybe I'm being to simple, but since you looking to replace the items listed, these might be good and lighter subs.

Dec 08, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Homemade Tamales - first timer

I've seen a number of recipes for tamales, and I'm sure there are other threads about them here. But I'm wondering what experience all you chow-hounders have.

Is it really that hard to do yourself?

What kind of meat is the best and what would be most authentic? How much do they really vary from one country to another?

Got a link to a reliable recipe? Any tips for a first timer besides low expectations?

What to serve with the tamales?

Dec 07, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

What is scrapple?

I'm surprised this has not come up yet. There's also a big argument in these parts about the right kind of scrapple.

Most of the posts so far seem to be describing "PA Dutch Scrapple", made with the butcher's trimmings, as well as liver, tongue, etc.

There's also "Philadelphia Scrapple" which is supposedly more refined for the city and main line folk. Made basically the same way -with spices and corn meal, but regular cuts of pork meat are used - nothing supposedly gross. There may also be some differences in the types of spices used.

Dec 07, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

The unbearable sameness of potatoes

I'll agree with the posters about preparation. When preparing them in various ways, either by cooking means or adding other ingredients, the texture and flavor differences become more pronounced.

But then you get back into preference, and those differences are not extreme anyway.

Dec 07, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

Breyer's Fried Ice Cream flavor

Could be. For a lot of foods, it's all about what you're used to.

Dec 07, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

favorite potato chips

I'm a thick lard "homestyle" or "kettlecooked" kind of guys, so as I mention above there are a lot of choices in my home state of PA. One of the bigger local brands that distribute regionally is Herrs. But for years there were really not a whole lot better than lays.

Recently, they started with a thicker kettle cooked like that is actually quite good and will make it into my pantry rotation. This past weekend, however, I tried their kettle salt and vinager and they are easily the best s&v chips I've ever had.

Where can I get Thai Spicy chips?

Dec 05, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

easy dessert to go with chili?

Yah, I was thinking something like sorbet or ice cream as well. Defintely something at least slightly chilled. Perhaps a mouse?

Dec 05, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Homemade Pizza at super-hi heat: it works

I've been making pizza myself for a long time with decent results cooking with the typical instructions. Then I heard Peter Reinhart on NPR talking about his book. He said to cook any pizza - homemade, frozen store bought, leftovers - at a really high temp. In fact, he said to go as high as your oven would go.

So, after this, I started inching up the temp - first to 425, then 450, etc. I was worried about going much higher. OK, I'll be honest, my wife was holding me back - figuring there's no way it would get done evenly. We were both worried that I might burn the outside of the crust or cheese.

For no particular reason I cranked my oven up to 550 this time, and let it get good and hot. Wow, what a difference! I used the same recipe and I ended up with the best pizza I've ever had.

Dec 01, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Shortening vs Butter

My wife takes just about any cookie type recipe that calls for all butter and substitutes exactly half with shortnening. The best example is choco chip cookies.

Her's are the best by far.

Dec 01, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

must there be sauce with rice?

Good point. Perhaps at the very least, it will be a compromise with her BF at home. I suppose he'll then have to suck it up with the potential in-laws. Even as an American marrying an American, I recall eating a few things I didn't like the first go 'rounds at her house!!!

Dec 01, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

must there be sauce with rice?

I'm a big fan of side starches and they generally exist as a delivery system for sauce as Will suggests.

But then I learned how to make good mashed taters and no longer needed gravy every time. I even found others were not using as much gravy even if it was availible.

With rice, it was a different story, I never liked it plain at all unless it sat next to a very saucy main dish. I would usually add hot sauce or something like that.

Then an Iranian friend suggested Basmati rice a few years back. I think it has a wonderful texture and some real flavor on it's own. We use a rice cooker with just a smidge of salt and olive oil. Give that a shot - serve it with something mild like shrimp or chicken so it will stand out more.

Nov 30, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

Good, Store-Bought Egg Nog?

I'm not a big egg-nog fan, but people from my area swear by Turkey Hill. Not sure if that's availible in your area though.

Nov 30, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

crock pots and slow cookers

Beef & Pork roasts do well in the crock pot for me. Just brown them for a few minutes on each side and drop them in with some basic seasonings. They always come out pretty good.

I have not had much luck with chicken in the crock pot, so I like that idea of heavily seasoning then shredding it up to make burritos or tacos or something like that.

You can take a lot of recipes that you would bake or braize and simply trasfer them to the crock. Stuffed cabbage is a good example. Also, throw some meatballs in there with sauce or some thinly sliced beef with gravy - both will make great sammiches.

You can make a pretty easy chili as well. Brown your meat first, then throw it in the pot with diced onion, pepper, garlic (whatever you like in your chili). Toss in some chili powder, basil, hot sauce, a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, and canned beans if you like (yah, I know real chili has no beans). Stir it up and go to work. When you get home, it'll be a darn good chili, but you'll have a craving for corn bread.

Nov 30, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Jalepeno Popper help

Thanks for the advice folks. I'll try par-freezing before dipping them in the batter next time.

I'm a little surprised that this didn't get more comments - anyone out there care to share a great Jalepeno popper recipe?

Nov 29, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Breyer's Fried Ice Cream flavor

Yah, I don't hate Edy's as much as you, but it's never in my freezer either. That's the point I was making. Turkey Hill is great, Edy's not so much, but it's way better than Breyers (IMO)

You also make a good point about additives. But you can tout yourself as all natural if you want, but you still gotta taste good. And to me Breyers is not creamy enough, and has weak flavors in general.

Getting back to the OP though - I would think you could find a similar flavor that could be doctored a bit if you're really looking for a fried ice cream ice cream.

Nov 29, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

Seeking the greatest PA sub/sandwich shops!!

Do you know if Rosie's is still operating in WC? They used to have the best Italian Hogies, at least that's how I remember them growing up in Chester County.

Nov 29, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Pennsylvania

Breyer's Fried Ice Cream flavor

Gotta capitalize on popularity fried ice cream I suppose.
I'll be honest though, I can't stand Breyers ice cream of any sort. As far as mass-produced product goes, they don't compare to Turkey Hill or even Edy's - if you can get those in your area.

Nov 29, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

Potato Pancakes vs. Hashbrowns

Here's my take...
I would say hash browns should have visible (and tastable) chunks or shreds of potatoes. As far as what other ingredients get cooked up with them and how done and crispy they are is all preference. In other words, you cannot make hash browns with leftover mashed taters.

But, you can make potato pancakes them lefotover mashed, but not necessarily. Again, if you add some onion, garlic, whatever - that's all preference, as would be the level of done-ness.

I prefer hash browns myself - shredded with a little onion, not too cakey, and crispy. But I also like home fries -which is a whole other discussion. But if you take this in order of the size of actual potato pieces, home fries would be largest, then hash browns, then potato pancakes - which I would have almost no discernable pieces (not sure if pieces is the correct term, but I think you get what I mean)

Nov 28, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Five Star Thanksgiving Recipes

I'm very interested in this recipe as well, it's almost enought to make me go back to stuffing the bird.

I too would like to know if that stuffing can be made on the side, or if a smaller bird could be used. I'd like to try this myself before springing it on the family.

Nov 28, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

Am I the only one who doesn't like a brined bird?

Food is an amazing animal (pun intended).

Those of us who don't like brining say we don't like how it changes the texture, yet those of us who do like it don't report any noticeable texture change.

How can this be?

1) Brining does change the texture somewhat, but in a way that is acceptible to brining lovers, who therefor don't really notice it.

2) Proper brining does not really change the texture, so those who dislike it are really reporting bad experiences with bad brines.

I find myself in the like brining category. My white and dark meat are fork tender, and not salty.
I do cook several turkey's a year and don't always brine, so I like it both ways. I usually only do so when I have the time and have planned it out in advance.

Is it possible this is not one of those right way/wrong way discussions? Perhaps it really is a matter of taste rather than skill and quality?

Nov 28, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

New pots and pans - moderate budget

When I first started researching this, I was thinking about spending something more in the $250 range, but it looks like the "mid-range" stuff is actually cheaper that I was thinking on sale.

So far I've seen comments about some good choices, and some concern that my mid-range suggestion won't actually get me very good equipment.

I'm thinking about doing as others have suggested and buying the primary pieces individually. That way I can get much better stuff and spread the cost out over time.

Nov 27, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Cookware

New pots and pans - moderate budget

That got me browsing on Samsclub.com.
Anyone familiar with this "Member's Mark" set?

http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navi...

Nov 27, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Cookware

New pots and pans - moderate budget

I need a new set of pots and pans. To be honest, we were fond of the set we have - but they're worn out. Don't laugh, but it's a pampered chef set that we got a good deal on for hosting one of those parties. They've served us well and lasted 8 years through heavy use.

We're looking for non-stick set that has the basics, and could buy some suplimentary pieces if necessary. But, we can't really afford a $600 box of cookware. At the same time, we can manage to purchase something nicer than a $79 box set of farberware from Walmart.

We've been eyeing up the cookware at Ikea as we've had good luck with their knives recently. We do have some decent restaurant supply stores in our area, so can get decent deals on the usual brands availible at slightly higher department stores.

We're also looking into Kitchen-Aid, Calphalon, and Cuisinart sets.

Any advice or opinions?

Nov 27, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Cookware

Medium Rare +

I've always order my steak medium, but usually at mid-range restaurants sometimes with a real chef, sometimes not. The results vary widely regardless. Sometimes there's very little pink, sometimes it comes back medum rare-, which is preferable because I can always send it back.

I wonder if this is a matter of how the person cooking the steak like sit. For instance, if someone truly likes a rare steak, then they'll think medium must be way more done than it really is. And if for some reason they like it well done, then they might consider medium to be quite rare.

I've only been to $40 steak houses 4-5 times in recent years, and have never had a problem there.

Nov 27, 2006
Ace_Mclean in General Topics

Am I the only one who doesn't like a brined bird?

I'm kinda thinking the same thing as DanaB. I'v'e brined and I've not brined. I've noticed no appreciable difference in actual texture, and certainly never lunch meat results. The brined birds I've cooked have somewhat better flavor and are actually slightly more moist. The major difference that I've noticed is that the gravy tastes better.

I'm sure there's some place I could research the science of it. But as I understand it, if you taste salty lunch meat then you have experienced an over-brined bird.

Nov 26, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

call for Thanksgiving debriefing: the good, the bad & the ugly. Please share your greatest successes and also any duds to learn by

Hits
*Turkey was a hit this year. We roasted a 29 pounder, was very worried about it getting done without drying out, but with Alton Brown's method, and a few other tips (like allowing it to come to room temp before roasting - all was well.

*Stuffing. This is my specialty actually. Every year I'm asked if I'll be making it again. Not sure why it's so popular - maybe because it has apples and wine in it, but I don't see that as unusual.

*Wife's gravy. This is her specialty. Simple butter and flour roux, stir in separated pan drippings and stock until it's perfect and yummy.

*Wife's yeast rolls. They turned out great this year. Some years they just don't rise enough/

Good, but we've done better:

*Mashed taters were sub-par by my estimation. Everyone liked them, but I thought they were less flavorful than normal. I think I tried to make too many this year.

*Green been caserole. I hate the stuff, but somehow it shows up every year and some of it get's eaten.

Misses

*Cream cheese/pumpkin pie. Usually we make an apple pie and a guest brings a pumpkin pie. Next year, we'll just ask for a regular pie - no-one really likes this cream cheese thingy my SIL makes.

Nov 26, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking

call for Thanksgiving debriefing: the good, the bad & the ugly. Please share your greatest successes and also any duds to learn by

Your menu sounds fantastic - wine salami?
Also, I've always wanted to make champagne vinagrette.

Nov 26, 2006
Ace_Mclean in Home Cooking