m

mhoffman's Profile

Title Last Reply

Heritage Bird for Thanksgiving

Thanks for all the great suggestions, guys! Lots of leads here.

Heritage Bird for Thanksgiving

Pittsburgh, PA hound here, though I spent my formative years in Berkeley. My wife and I are cooking Thanksgiving supper this year at my parents' place in the East Bay. This is the time of year where I normally reserve a turkey. I have a great source here in Western PA, but I'm clueless as to whom to call in the Bay. I could just go through Heritage Foods USA, but I'd rather go local if possible. So who grows the best birds?

Birthday Cake in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

This place looks great. Thanks!

Jun 19, 2009
mhoffman in Outer Boroughs

Birthday Cake in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

ChowHeads! I'm coming into town in a few weeks to celebrate my brother's 30th birthday. He lives in Prospect Heights, and I'm looking for a excellent bakery where I can get him a birthday cake. Walking distance from Sterling and Underhill is a huge plus. Suggestions for cake substitutes—pies, tarts, giant cream puffs, etc.—are equally appreciated. My primary concerns are quality and proximity. Thanks!

Jun 18, 2009
mhoffman in Outer Boroughs

Food Wedding Reading

Hey, all. As so often happens in life, asking for help has led me to find a solution on my own. Here is what we've decided to use as our food-related reading. It's an excerpt from the introduction to Volume One of Mastering the Art of French Cooking:

--------

Pay close attention to what you are doing while you work, for precision in small details can make the difference between passable cooking and fine food. If a recipe says, "cover casserole and regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly," "heat the butter until its foam begins to subside," or "beat the hot sauce into the egg yolks by driblets," follow it. You may be slow and clumsy at first, but with practice you will pick up speed and style.

Allow you self plenty of time. Most dishes can be assembled, or started, or partially cooked in advance. If you are not an old campaigner, do not plan more than one long or complicated recipe for a meal or you will wear yourself out and derive not pleasure form your efforts.

If food is to be baked or broiled, be sure your oven is hot before the dish goes in. Otherwise soufflés will not rise, piecrusts will collapse, and gratinéed dishes will overcook before they brown.

A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them, Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion.

Train yourself to use your hands and fingers; they are wonderful instruments. Train yourself to handle hot foods; this will save time. Keep your knives sharp.

Above all, have a good time.

Oct 12, 2008
mhoffman in Not About Food

Food Wedding Reading

I like that poem! Perhaps a bit racy for purpose at hand, however. It's awkward enough seeing all those old relatives as it is.

And yes, please keep trying if you're willing!

Oct 12, 2008
mhoffman in Not About Food

Food Wedding Reading

Thanks for these great suggestions so far. Perhaps I should provide a bit more information. The ceremony is basically secular, with some Jewish elements. I'm hesitant to use any religious text that is not Jewish, and all-in-all I'd probably rather not use a religious text.

Oct 12, 2008
mhoffman in Not About Food

Food Wedding Reading

Dear Hounds: I am getting married in a month or so, and my fiancee and I are searching for a food/cooking/eating-related wedding reading and are having some trouble. Can you help?

A reading that expresses the importance of food in a beautiful or humorous way would be sufficient; a reading that also alludes to marriage or to love would be an added bonus. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Oct 11, 2008
mhoffman in Not About Food

Obama and McCain cookies!

Check out the angles of the eyebrows.

Sep 11, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Obama and McCain cookies!

This shouldn't be a surprise coming out of Chicago, but doesn't Obama look warm and happy, while McCain looks scowling, bloated, and angry?

I say this as an Obama supporter.

Sep 09, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

High fructose corn syrup commercial on Food Network?!?

I'm not telling you not to use your eyes; I'm just telling you that science works.

Sep 04, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

High fructose corn syrup commercial on Food Network?!?

There is a reason why statisticians and epidemiologists don't merely report the anecdotal evidence of what they happen to see around him. Your convenience sample is biased.

Sep 04, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

High fructose corn syrup commercial on Food Network?!?

Good point about the homogenization of our diets. That is surely a bad thing, culturally as well as nutritionally.

Sep 03, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

High fructose corn syrup commercial on Food Network?!?

How about this: It's not okay because it doesn't taste good. And it's in everything processed, which for much of the US means it's in almost everything. It's one of the reasons American taste has gotten sweeter.

Sep 03, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Food Network "Food Detectives"

Yeah. I guess I did.

Aug 28, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

$910 grapes

This sort of thing happens all the time, and never ceases to amuse American media:

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asi...

Aug 12, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

(1) Yes, of course. "His food" is merely a necessary shorthand for "the food he cooked." I don't see how this bears on the quality of the food and the cooking, which is what we are (or at least I am) discussing.

(2) Forgive me for wanting more from television. It's possible to make a cooking show that is informative and entertaining at the same time.

Aug 05, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

Since I hate when people just flatly say things such as "I don't like the food by/at X," I decided to offer up some specifics about WHY I don''t like Aaron's food.

If that's "overthinking," then count me as a proud overthinker. There's nothing wrong with analysis. Analysis makes for interesting conversation.

For those of you who disagree, let me rephrase: Aaron GOOD; Aaron's food BAD.

Pass the twice-fried Doritos.

Aug 05, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Food Network "Food Detectives"

I was pretty young at the time, but I remember watching "Taste." His show on eggs, and especially this parpadelle with runny egg, shaved truffles, and parmigiano (and nothing else but salt, pepper, and olive oil) really captured my imagination.

Aug 05, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

How so?

Aug 04, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

It was mostly the crap flavoring ingredients on Doritos, and not the usage of a snack food, that I was objecting to.

Aug 04, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

The positive comments on this thread led me to watch this show before deleting if from the DVR.

All in all, I like Aaron, but not his food. I understand that he was cooking with kids in mind, and so perhaps I can't fault him for not using more interesting flavors, but there were so many little things that turned me off.

He used Doritos for the yellow chicken crust. Why not just use a good quality corn chip and season it yourself? Also, I imagine that refrying corn chips would cause them to absorb a lot of oil, since the moisture (water) has already been fried out of them. The choice to use corn chips was cute, but I think it was a bad choice. Also, the salad was hideous, and I would have preferred some sort of lime and oil based dressing to (ugh) peppercorn ranch.

I'd eat the pork sandwich, but I found it uncreative. The one unique aspect of it was the inversion of the bread, but again I think this was cuteness over content. If he'd just grilled the cut side of the bread alone for a moment and then constructed a traditional sandwich, he would have gotten a similar crunch-factor with an easier to eat result.

Also, though he warned viewers about burning the garlic, he virtually guaranteed that he'd burn it by using such a hot pan. In fact it looked as if he did burn it. He also burned the spice rub on the pork. Perhaps that was intentional, but if I were making the same dish I'd just salt the pork before searing and then rub it before roasting. All that smoked paprika turned into carbon.

Lastly, the fries looked flaccid and greasy to me. He used a rack to cook the pork, so why not for the fries?

I know these gripes are all pretty minor, but I have to believe it's possible to cook in a creative and fundamentally sound way while still pleasing children and FN's target audience (whoever they are). Aaron just seems like a pretty sloppy cook to me.

Aug 04, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Food Network "Food Detectives"

If only there were an FN show that would delve superficially into the science of tablescapes...

Jul 30, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Food Network "Food Detectives"

Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but the (to me) most flagrantly unscientific part of the show was when they measured the stink in the fridge by timing how long the dude could stick his head in there. I just don't even know where to start with that one.

Jul 30, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

While I'm not too excited about Big Daddy, I do sort of like this sentiment:

“I call it soul food but I try to keep things seperated [sic]. I don’t want people to think ethnic-wise that it’s black food, because every body has their own type of soul food, be it if your Italian or Irish or Asian or whatever. It’s about food that is really flavorful and something you can be proud of and it comes from your soul. And that’s how I like to cook.”

Jul 29, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

ATK/CI/CC and the potato salad debacle

I know very little about defending copyrights, so I'll defer to your expertise. However, if what ATK is doing is just good business practice, then the system that incentivises this behavior is really messed up.

Jul 29, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

why ask people to "vote" for TNFS?

Meryl, I'm not disagreeing with you, but I was hoping you'd elaborate on your opinions: In what ways did you find the contest to be unethical?

Jul 29, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

ATK/CI/CC and the potato salad debacle

This little story seems to confirm that the Kimble Konglomerate is rotten beyond its marketing department. That's sad, because for the most part I think that they have a good product.

On a more general note, the story is an example of a company's not understanding the way that information and opinions move around in the modern world. As the blogger points out, what she was doing could only have helped. She was getting the word out about them, and implicitly endorsing them to her readers, who presumably value her opinions. It's hard to buy publicity that good. Now, if the blogger had been creating a free searchable index of ATK recipes, that would be another thing entirely.

Jul 29, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News

Juniper and Bay Leaf Syrup

Haven't tried this yet, but it's kinda genius.

Jul 26, 2008
mhoffman in Recipes

FN Mac&Cheese Challenge: Barbara Lynch

I had the same feeling. People in this thread overreacted extremely.

Jul 10, 2008
mhoffman in Food Media & News