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Best delivery pizza around Cambridge?

Agree, the OP should definitely check out Armando's. They serve my favorite pizza in Cambridge. It's pretty darn close to NY pizza. Love the thin but not too thin crust. Just the right amount of sauce. Yum.

Mar 26, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

2014 Food Truck Schedule for Boston released

Based on another mention on a different thread, I visited the Pennypackers storefront location (Medford Street in Magoun Square, Somerville) several weeks ago. The porchetta sandwiches are to die for. Others whom I have since introduced have given thumbs up to two other sandwiches (roast beef and artichoke salad) that are on their rotation.

Mar 26, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

March 2014 Openings and Closings

What a shame. I have a friend in Lexington who has been known to be... shall we say... reluctant to try new things. (Other characteristics make up for this!) Khushboo was on the list of approved menus... As for me, I enjoyed their selection of breads, which seemed to be a much wider variety than most Indian restaurants, even the ones on Moody Street in Waltham.

Mar 22, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

New Half Sour Pickles at my local Market Basket.

Scored some this afternoon at the Burlington MB. There were several units of half sours on the shelf...

Mar 20, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

New Half Sour Pickles at my local Market Basket.

Thanks! Sadly, not my usual stomping ground. I will look for them in Burlington...

Mar 12, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

New Half Sour Pickles at my local Market Basket.

Which MB had those pickles? New half sours are the best!

Mar 11, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

ISO: Butcher or Meat Shop in Metrowest For BBQ Season

There are a number of local farms that make regional deliveries. You order online and pick up your meat at a given place and time. Two that make deliveries to the Boston metro area (including, I am sure, Metrowest) are Signal Rock Farm (lamb) and Wheel View Farm (beef). You might want to check their websites to see if they do deliveries in areas that are convenient to you. Note that Signal Rock is delivering this month but I think they are switching to selling at Farmers Markets during Farmers Market season.

Also, if you find yourself near Concord/Sudbury (I know, I know, not really part of Metrowest), there is Pete and Jen's mini-store. They raise and sell pork, lamb, and rabbit. They also stock beef from Wheelview farm. If you hurry, you may be able to pre-order their (extremely) fresh chickens, which are heavenly and available once a month June-October.

I have purchased from all three of these farms in the past and can attest to the quality of what they offer. In addition, the beef sold by Wheel View Farm is priced very nicely.

Mar 11, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

NW inner burbs supermarket news

Two bits of wonderfulness occurred over the past few days:

1. Got a postcard from Wegman's promising a fall opening in Burlington on Middlesex Turnpike, about a mile north of the Burlington Mall. Sounds like that is really going to happen!

2. Read an article that said that despite all the turmoil in the DeMoulas family, a lease has just been signed for a new Market Basket in Waltham (at the old Polaroid facility just off route 128).

OMG, the choices some of us will have to make! Heaven!

Mar 11, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

SE Asian groceries (especially Thai)?

Russo's is reliable for many things, but galangal and lime leaves are not always available there.

Mar 06, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

March 2014 Openings and Closings

What a coincidence! I walked by Hi-Fi for the first time in a number of years just a few weeks ago. I was struck by the thought that it looked pretty much the same as the first time I ate there, back in 1971.

Mar 05, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Lunch at Blue Ribbon BBQ Arlington

That's interesting to hear. I am a member of the gone-downhill faction. However, I was ordering ribs. Maybe some dishes are still okay and others aren't, perhaps because they have changed their process or recipes for some and not others?

Mar 05, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

CHOW Veggie Burger

My comment was about glutamic acid, not TVP. As for the article, it seems to be attacking TVP by depicting the scientific terminology that it quotes as scary. For example, the author wants us to believe that the scientific term "denature" denotes something bad when, in fact, everyday cooking involves denaturing proteins.

Certainly, folks who are into the raw food movement (or in that general ballpark) would not want to include TVP in their diet. However, chemistry is everywhere. For example, the wine you drink has alcohol that started as sugars. The bread you eat rises because yeast metabolize the carbohydrates in the dough and turn them into carbon dioxide and water. There's a fair amount of chemistry involved in making cheese, as well as processes such as heating and various physical manipulations. Even making tofu requires steps such as grinding, heating, and chemical-induced precipitation of the proteins found in the soy beans.

Bottom line is, just because the unfamiliar scientific terms used to describe how something is made may be described in a way that makes them sound scary doesn't mean that there is anything bad going on.

Feb 06, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Recipes

CHOW Veggie Burger

Glutamic acid is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks that form proteins. While it is true that glutamic acid is a component of monosodiumglutamate, it does not follow that "it should be avoided at all cost". Glutamic acid is NOT MSG. In and of itself, it is harmless, and is found in a wide variety of plants and animals.

Feb 05, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Recipes

Anyone know of any Artisan Bread making classes ?

The link on Amazon says it weighs in 0.1g increments. :(

Jan 30, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Anyone know of any Artisan Bread making classes ?

Thanks for the pointers. And a big thank you for the news about Local Root. It's been too long since there was a kitchenware store on this side of the river. From the website they seem a bit aspirational in what they carry and they certainly have no bargains, but they do seem to have the good taste to carry the kitchen shears that ended my search for the perfect version of that tool:

http://localroot.com/Friedr-Dick-8-Ki...

Alas, they do not show a scale that meets my needs on their website.

FWIW, the recipes that I have seen are measuring things like 1.25 grams. So, the accuracy of the scale that I am looking for probably should be plus or mine a few hundredths. The little scale I use for weighing my morning coffee beans does tenths of a gram on its scale and is just fine for its purpose, but probably not for this one. It was not very expensive at all IIRC.

Jan 30, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Anyone know of any Artisan Bread making classes ?

Madrid, I am intrigued by your comment about scales in Boston. Could you please recommend a few sources? In the past I have gone the mail order route, but it is always nice to support a locally owned brick-and-mortar enterprise. I very much like the scale I am using for weighing flour, and the like, but have become intrigued by a recipe for molecular mac and cheese. Got the sodium citrate and carrageenan, but need a low-capacity scale that shows 100th's of grams with reasonable accuracy.

Jan 30, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Anyone know of any Artisan Bread making classes ?

That is a great book to learn about bread baking. The author is a bit idiosyncratic, so I also recommend taking a look at some others for perspective. I took my first serious steps in learning traditional bread baking techniques by reading Dan Leader's Bread Alone.

When you choose a class, take a careful look at the length/schedule of the class. Many recipes for artisan bread involve multiple stages, some of which are lengthy. You get the bread going (on a small scale) the night before, build upon that start the next morning, go through multiple stages of rising and shaping, then finally bake. A class that tries to compress all of that into a few hours on one day won't help you get the feel for the process. The instructor may show you what the dough is like when it is ready, but it is just as important to be able to know when it is not time yet. :)

If you agree with that thinking, the four-day class at King Arthur up in Vermont looks like it might be exactly what you want. It is called Bread: Principles & Practice. What a nice mini-vacation that might be!

Jan 29, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Thai Chiles?

If time is not of the essence, you can store green Thai chilis and after a while they turn red. Really.

Jan 27, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area
1

Market Basket 4% off

Hmmm, I could be wrong, maybe it was a pint. There's none in my fridge now or I could know for sure. The container is short and wide, about the size of a cottage cheese container. The price has been the best around by far, even beating Russo's.

Kates Butter has been another incredible bargain at the Burlington MB. Salted and unsalted (a recent addition), $3-something for a pound (four sticks), WF is like $5.49.

Jan 20, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Market Basket 4% off

Up until the last time I did so,I was buying Fage yogurt in quarts at the Burlington MB for $2.99 or $3.49, can't remember which. Definitely a big price jump.

Jan 20, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

CHOW Reviews: Vitamix 5200 Standard

Four stars instead of five because it IS loud. Otherwise, I love my Vitamix. It's been in my kitchen for years and years. It blends very very well and cleans up very quickly. Why put the parts in a dishwasher if it literally takes a minute to run the machine with some soapy water in it and then rinse everything off?

Jan 19, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Cookware

Bread Recipes using AP Flour

While it is true that KA AP flour has more protein (gluten) than others, particularly flours milled for distribution in the southern US, breads made in loaf pans should be okay. In those recipes it is the pan that holds the shape of the bread, not the gluten.

Jan 19, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Home Cooking

Bread Recipes using AP Flour

Check out the King Arthur Flour website (www.kingarthurflour.com). They have a huge recipe collection there. There are plenty of bread recipes that use AP flour. All of the recipes that I have tried from that website have worked very well. My suggestion would be to try one of their white bread recipes. The results will absolutely inspire you to keep on baking bread. Also, baking bread in a loaf pan is a great way to start out, since you avoid the extra steps (and possible pitfalls) that come with free-form loaves.

Jan 19, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Home Cooking

Market Basket 4% off

Look at it this way. Most supermarkets operate at margins that are LESS than 4%. (See http://www.cnbc.com/id/100794988) So, a 4 percent discount on almost everything could wipe out all of the profit that MB makes unless it also raised its prices to make up for it.

More about how this marketing gimmick works. On December 27, a weekly grocery bill goes up 4%, but by then people will have been trained by MB to believe that that is just the end of a great discount program, not a price hike.

Jan 19, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area
1

Market Basket 4% off

They've raised the prices on non-produce items. For example, in the recent past their chicken leg quarters (great fodder for chicken soup) used to be $.89/lb every day (not on sale). Now they are $.99 on sale and (if my memory serves) $1.09 as the everyday price.

Jan 19, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Market Basket 4% off

It seems to me that this is just marketing. Prices on some items that I buy definitely have gone up. So, raise the prices and then tell people you are giving them a 4% discount might be a wash for the customer or even a way to sugarcoat a net higher grocery bill. Bottom line, to me this is a gimmick - something I have not previously seen at MB. Most unwelcome. I would far prefer they mark the items with the prices we will end up paying for them.

All in all, I will still do most of my shopping at MB, but I love them a bit less and will be looking forward to the Wegman's that will be up the road from the Burlington MB just a bit more.

Jan 18, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

Kam Man Quincy shopping trip

Oooooh, great info. Thanks!

Jan 16, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area

30 inch vs 36 inch range

I have no problem fitting a turkey or a roast in my oven.

Having said that, when I bought my range, there were several different 36 inch Kenmore ranges to choose among. The one you are looking at may not be the same as mine. Also, in my experience the thing that matters when fitting a turkey into an oven is the height of the oven, not the cubic feet. An oven that is wide but relatively short might have more total volume than an oven that is taller. Along those lines, since my oven uses gas, there is a burner at the top that can interfere depending on what you are baking or roasting and the position of the rack. I suggest you take a measuring tape with you when you look at the stove. If the oven is at least 15 inches high inside, you are probably okay. Also, if you use commercial sheet pans when you bake, you might also measure to be sure they will fit well too.

Jan 15, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Cookware

30 inch vs 36 inch range

A few years ago I replaced the horrible 30-inch Roper electric range that came with my house with a 36-inch gas (from the street, not propane) range. After shopping around, I decided I could not justify the price of a name brand range, so I ended up with a mid-range Kenmore. That was odd for me, a person with a significant All-Clad collection, a well-loved Kitchenaid from the days of Hobart, a knife for every purpose (Alton Brown would hate me), etc. I am so glad that I made that decision. With a 36-inch range I can cook with two BIG woks at once, have several large pots and saute pans going, etc. There's no room for that on a 30-inch stove, even if you do have five burners. They are too close together. As for the stove, it performs very nicely. The biggest burner pumps out 18K BTUs and the simmer burner really does maintain a very low flame when it is turned all the way down. The oven (gas) preheats very quickly and performs very well for me.

So... my advice for you is to consider doing something similar to what I did. Shop around for a 36-inch range that fits your budget. (Mine ran about $1700 after a bunch of discounts because it was on sale on a state tax holiday (sort of a Black Friday but for appliances).) You may be surprised at how close you will come to your ideal.

Jan 14, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Cookware

Kam Man Quincy shopping trip

Ba Le is still there. Got my Bahn Mi (#2, with everything) for the road on the way out.

Thanks for the tip about the South Bay location. I went there earlier in the year and came away disappointed. Heaven facing chili pepper alone is a reason to give it another look!

Apropos Szechuan ingredients, I did manage to score some "Pixian Thick Broadbean" (in almost microscopic print, also identified as "Broad Bean Paste with Chili Oil") as part of my ongoing quest to find a favorite.

Finally, about the produce, it was sad. Okay, it's January, and there have been a number of very hard freezes that may have affected produce in transit, so I wouldn't deprecate the store based on what was there yesterday. I did bring home some very nice mustard greens, and there were a few other "usual suspect" veggies that looked very good, but overall, feh.

Jan 10, 2014
PinchOfSalt in Greater Boston Area