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Koshary Tomato Sauce

For future reference, I used the tomato sauce recipe in the following recipe as a starting point. I opted to put the onion and garlic while somewhat cooked into the blender (before adding the tomato paste) to make sure that it was a super fine consistency, but the vinegar definitely helped get the taste I wanted.

http://food52.com/recipes/11920-koshary

about 12 hours ago
cresyd in Home Cooking

It's Like Tinder but for Local Food

I think a more apt description is that Tinder doesn't quite know if it wants to be a dating or hook up app and vaguely attempts to be both with slowly decreasing popularity.

about 18 hours ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

Worst thing you ate before working-out.

Apparently there are some new chocolate/caffeine chews - I've not seen them, but a friend told me about them. I told her she should do a "practice run" with them because they might have some tummy side effects. While we were talking about this in regards to her long commute to/from work - she ended up trying a couple before going to the gym. Very poor results.

1 day ago
cresyd in General Topics

Worst thing you ate before working-out.

Whole milk.

I was ten and went home with a friend before basketball practice. Our snack was whole milk and either Oreos or a peanut butter sandwich? The food part was of no consequence, but the lingering taste of all that milk fat killed me during practice.

1 day ago
cresyd in General Topics

Difference? Zahtar Pure Herb vs Zahtar Spice Mix

Zata'ar basically is thyme - however, whether the varietal in the Middle East is/isn't different from what's typically grown in Europe or the US - that I have no idea. I've also heard Zata'ar described as "wild thyme" - but in that regard, I have no idea how it is or isn't different from what you'd buy in a US grocery store.

I used to live in Jerusalem and shopped for herbs from a variety of vendors. In Hebrew there is a word for thyme - but if you ask Hebrew speaking vendors for zata'ar, you will be directed to thyme (if it's just a green grocer) or dried thyme and the spice blend (if it's a dried spice vendor). Arabic speaking vendors - zata'ar will lead you to both the blend and dried thyme. Did the thyme I bought over there taste any different to what I've bought in the US - no.

But I'm not a super big gardener/horticulturalist - so I'm not saying there isn't one. Also, like many parts of the world, it could be that due to a perception of Western thyme as being desirable - the seeds or product of European thyme could be imported/sold and thus making the local plant more rare. All of that, I have no clue.

From my experience over there, I do believe that whatever the used names of spices are does not mean it's exactly what you'd see in a European/US context. Whatever is sold in Jerusalem as "sweet paprika" and "hot paprika" I highly doubt to actually be paprika (as it's also what they give you if you ask for cayenne, chili powder, or a few other terms). However, I like it for whatever it is and when I have friends visit me from there - I ask them to bring me some. Zata'ar (either thyme or the blend) I never ask for as I don't find it wildly different, interesting, or superior to what I can get in the US.

Difference? Zahtar Pure Herb vs Zahtar Spice Mix

Zata'ar the herb I would expect to be a variation of thyme, whereas zata'ar the blend as you mention above, does include thyme.

Regarding the difference in use, the zata'ar spice blend will have regional variations in regards to what is included in the blend. It can be used as simply as a dip - either mixed with oil or just dry, or sprinkled on top of items.

In regards to the herb - when dried (or fresh) it's used as you would use thyme in other cuisines - often in earlier stages of the cooking process.

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

I dunno - if you go abroad, you see Germans drink all sorts of dubious local beers…..

Aug 24, 2014
cresyd in General Topics
1

Koshary Tomato Sauce

I want to make a creative variation of a dish that I found a recipe for. Part of this variation (that I am very excited to try) neglected to include a tomato sauce component. I feel that this recipe (as nice and interesting as it is) would benefit from still having the tomato sauce condiment. I was looking for suggestions for recipes from the tomato sauce.

Not chowhound approved, but rather chowhound recommended. My use of the word "bastardized" was not meant to imply bad or lesser, but rather to indicate that this recipe had a creative take - and I was looking to take that creative take an additional step and add a tomato sauce condiment.

I'm looking for a recommended Egyptian tomato sauce condiment recipe. What more CH worthy query could I have posed?

Aug 24, 2014
cresyd in Home Cooking

Top Chef Boston v. Teamsters

Could not agree more.

Aug 22, 2014
cresyd in Greater Boston Area

mexikosher chef on new season of top chef

Of any challenge shows - Top Chef I'd imagine would be best set up for a kosher challenge.

As the show often does "off-site" challenges - as long as the site was already kosher and stocked with utensils and approved food, then the rest would be no different from any other off-site challenge. They have done challenges before where the contestants can only use the ingredients in X fridge/pantry - so in this case the big difference would be not being able to use their own knives. I can't imagine any JCC in the country that wouldn't jump for joy to host such a challenge.

Aug 22, 2014
cresyd in Kosher
1

DC recommendations in the K Street Area

Finally (finally!) made it to Sophie's - and it really is excellent. The beans and rice alone were reason for the walk in the rain.

Billing issue... what would you do?

It is definitely silly to do this, and particularly if you are regulars - there are far more graceful ways to do this.

A bar that my friends and I frequented a lot - once we were there with a large group, and at the end of the night when we asked for the bill it seemed far lower than it should be. But it was late, we were a bit drunk, paid and left. The next time I went with two of my friends, the owner very apologetically told us that we had only received half of our bill and gave us the rest. As we struggled to remember how we had divided the bill the past time, who had paid for what, who still owed what (and who remembered the most) - the owner comped us a bottle of wine and asked us to just pay what we felt was fair.

We were happy to pay what we genuinely owned, but the way he handled the situation made the whole experience feel very nice and jovial. It was our favorite bar, we went there all the time, and they definitely got more than enough off of us over time. Behaving the way described in the OP's case just seems so silly.

Small town restaurant + Bad experience = Would you go back?

I lived in Jerusalem for 5 years. While there were some places with reliably good food, with the exception of very expensive restaurants that rule (bad meal and/or bad really bad service twice) would have meant eating out very rarely.

Result - expectations were changed.

From my experience in Israeli restaurants, service typically ranges from mediocre to very poor. Though I guess at one point it had a bizarre positive consequence. At one place where we'd already ordered and received our food, we spent 20 minutes at the counter trying to pay and then were just screamed at to please leave and stop bothering them.

Also, even if you find a place that has a dish you really love - I've experienced a number of restaurants where consistency in dishes can range wildly.

Now for some people this might mean that they'd just not eat out and save dining out for truly special occasions or traveling to better dining destinations. In my case, expectations just changed - but basically it narrowed down to a situation where the food was the most important factor. If the food was good enough, enough of the time - then the service just became something to giggle or eye role about later.

The most extreme example of this was one place where they once served a dish that had a live cockroach in it. When the table (very calmly) brought this to the attention of the server, she shrugged and said "it's the Middle East" - and tried to charge them for the dish and the replacement dish. My friends and I all knew about this story, and still went back. I can't even imagine tolerating that anywhere else (even in other Middle Eastern countries).

Aug 21, 2014
cresyd in Not About Food

mexikosher chef on new season of top chef

As the Mexikosher chef himself isn't kosher - it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. When he was on Chopped, one of his most praised dishes involved what he did with whelks (sea snails).

Aug 21, 2014
cresyd in Kosher
1

I have never eaten at _______ and I never will!

I had a friend have this moment in Egypt and her savior was KFC, but in a bizarre way I now associate a completely plain McDonald's hamburger (and Gatorade) with a feeling of recovery and renewed health.

Aug 21, 2014
cresyd in Chains

I have never eaten at _______ and I never will!

In a normal situation - I have all sorts of answers for this - but when traveling....stuff happens.

I would love to be able to say that when traveling overseas, I would never eat at an American fast food chain. But after enduring a dreadful case of food poisoning, there really was no more reassuring sight than a McDonald's.

Aug 21, 2014
cresyd in Chains

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

I think that all of this relates to what people have had, what they like, and what interests them. My friends who are visiting, I originally met them when we all lived in Jerusalem which has a sizeable Ethiopian community and some great restaurants. They have also traveled fairly extensively through Latin America, and really can't get Mexican food that they enjoy so much in Europe. Not that DC is a Mexican hotspot either, but it is compared to London.

That being said, if I had another English and German visitor a week later, I wouldn't assume that they'd want the same things.

Aug 21, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

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

My knee jerk reaction (as an American) to the list of the above three items is both strongly yes and no. Growing up in LA and Cincinnati, those were all dishes I'd have pretty rarely. Maybe this was because I had hippie health food parents - but it wasn't because I was first generation or came from a strong ethnic background food wise.

Also, I find that tourists from abroad have very different food ideas about visiting the US. I have a friend from London who's visiting me in DC with her German boyfriend and the main food request they have is Mexican and Ethiopian food.

Aug 20, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

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

I have to agree about Thanksgiving. Of my friends from abroad (even as close as Canada), the American meal they're the most interested in is Thanksgiving.

Aug 20, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

Koshary Tomato Sauce

Haha - exactly!

But I do have a fondness for some of the traditional "with less umph" for some dishes like koshary or mujadara. That being said, I have NO plans to make the traditional garlic vinegar condiment in my tiny kitchen.

Aug 20, 2014
cresyd in Home Cooking
1

DIrty Family Secrets

My grandmother was also a fan of various meat jellies which has never turned me off as much. Probably because it didn't smell as much.

Aug 20, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

Koshary Tomato Sauce

My experience with Ottolenghi with traditional Levantine dishes, is that he's very prone to "umph" them. Not that they aren't very tasty but usually aren't the most authentic versions.

Aug 20, 2014
cresyd in Home Cooking
2

DIrty Family Secrets

No - this was when the actual gefilte fish was gone. Just the remaining jelly. Though on crackers it looked more like a proper snack….unlike when she'd just eat the jelly with a spoon.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

Top Chef Duel 8/13 spoilers Chung vs. Williamson

During the standard TC, not only will they have contestants talk about their own process (this is going well, this is going poorly, etc.) - there's also often the chance for the contestants to talk about one another (x is doing something I wouldn't do, y is being bossy, z is using packaged food, etc). As these challenges don't really allow for any genuine commentary other than speculation (i.e. Shirley doesn't usually make dessert) - they're forced to push them to talk to one another during the challenge. Shows like Chopped or Knife Fight have the judges serve as a 'peanut gallery' so if the contestants aren't very chatty during the challenge - there's something else to add that dynamic.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in Food Media & News

DIrty Family Secrets

My grandmother - jarred gefilte fish jelly spread on saltines.

That one haunts me....

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

Koshary Tomato Sauce

It's just not a traditional recipe - so it doesn't come with the tomato sauce component. I guess that was more my point of calling it bastardized than implying there was something egregiously wrong. Not that I couldn't be talked into topping koshary with bacon bits along with fried onions as a tasty (but religiously inappropriate) variation.

I have looked at other recipes online, and there just seems to be some pretty wide variations in the recipes. So I was hoping for a Chowhound approved suggestion.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in Home Cooking

What do you eat when you don't know what you want?

I do this too - but if 15-20 minutes I'm still hungry (and it's in between meals) either some peanut butter on a spoon or a small amount of tamari almonds.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

What makes you sick or react that you love?

I have to sadly add cheese to ice cream.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in General Topics

Cheap Beef Meals

WF will have meats on sale, or discounted prices for 'family pack' sizes of meat.

I came here largely to say that given the OP's interest, and particularly the low carb dynamic - what might make the most sense is to largely scope out what beef is on sale (if anything is that week) and then plan a meal around that cut.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in Home Cooking
1

Have you ever left a Restaurant...

At a sit down place (and especially when with other people) no - but at various to-go/take away places - all the time. One place in particular was a Yemenite late night place I used to go to post bars. The dish I'd always order they wouldn't always make after midnight, and so it really depended on who was working and how busy they were.

I can think of endless take-away situations, but not for sit down.

Aug 19, 2014
cresyd in Not About Food