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mattrapp's Profile

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Need a new range-Husband wants a Blue Star! [moved from Site Talk board]

We have a 4 burner BS with a griddle, and I have been really pleased with it. The oven does take a bit longer to heat up, but cooks very evenly with the fan on. It comes to 400* in about 15 minutes. I wouldn't even consider one of these without a really powerful exterior venting hood, they really crank out the heat! I have never been able to bring a 4 gallon pot to a boil faster than this.

Jul 10, 2012
mattrapp in Cookware

Things you want to bake

I'm finally going to make Canele's. I took the plunge and ordered the crazy expensive copper molds and they arrived. So this week I will start working on perfecting my technique.

Jun 15, 2012
mattrapp in Home Cooking

Vegetarian considering Big Green Egg

That may be a huge expense for something that is not the best option for what you want to do. I would look at a Weber kettle grill and maybe at a Green Egg mini. It is their small 2 person Egg that would rock the veggies "egg style" without spending huge sums.

Jun 12, 2012
mattrapp in Cookware

Downtown Cleveland suggestions please :-)

Check out the Greenhouse Tavern, it is most spectacular and will have something for everybody. Very close to the stadium also.

Jun 12, 2012
mattrapp in Great Lakes

Bluestar 36" Range, Burner arrangement vs. griddle

I too was trying to decide which way to go with the Bluestar, and a deal I couldn't pass on the 4 burner griddle/broiler option was what I ended up with. I have been very pleased and I love the griddle set up. One thing nobody mentions is that while you have 4 burners, you can also use the griddle to heat pans on. Perfect for simmering and the like. I'm a professional chef and often cook for large groups at home, and while my ideal set up would have been a 6 burner with the griddle option, this has worked out very well. There is nothing like the control and power you have with the commercial style griddle/broiler. There have been a couple of times that I have been crowded with larger pans. but not enough that I have regretted this set up. Did I mention I REALLY like the griddle/broiler set up?
Good luck, it is tough trying to wade through all of these options!

Mar 10, 2012
mattrapp in Cookware

American Food Gifts to bring to French Family

I also agree that a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon and a really well aged VT cheddar would be winners.

Aug 25, 2011
mattrapp in France

Best Hot Dogs Available By Mail Order

Pearl Meats franks are fantastic and have a cult like following.

Jul 07, 2011
mattrapp in General Topics

Knight Salami Company (San Diego)

I see oerdin's confusion in the price. The prices on the website say " “Price sold per ounce, average whole salame is 12oz.”. $12.00
It could be interpreted as $12.00/oz.

Dec 07, 2009
mattrapp in San Diego

Caja China vs. Caja Asadora???

I think they are only available from La Caja China in Florida. They ship by UPS and it only takes a short time to assemble it.

Dec 07, 2009
mattrapp in Cookware

Portable Charcoal Grill

Check out a BIg Green Egg Mini. Extremely versatile, uses very little charcoal and you have extreme control over the temps. Plus a lifetime warranty.

Dec 04, 2009
mattrapp in Cookware

Caja China vs. Caja Asadora???

I have the La Caja China and it is very well built. They use very good quality materials, and it is well crafted and goes together quite easily. The lining is a nice aluminum. It's purpose is to reflect the heat back to the pig inside the box, and works perfectly. I only use it 1-3 times a year, but it is always a show stopper!

Nov 25, 2009
mattrapp in Cookware

Where is a good selection of gas bbq grills in the DC metro area?

You're probably not going to use the Weber much if you got an Egg also! Just wait till you taste the food off of the Egg and see how easy it is to use. Congratulations!

Mystery Spice

That would be it, or the other name for it is Hing.

Jul 28, 2009
mattrapp in General Topics


I'm about to get one myself. I had a meal cooked on one and I was amazed at what you can do with one of these. Here is the website to all of the information you could ever want on a Big Green Egg.

Jun 11, 2009
mattrapp in Cookware

chefs: knife roll recommendations?

I have had very good luck with the Messermeister knife rolls. I have been using them for the last 20 years with no complaints. They are well made, and not expensive. The last one I bought came from Kendel Cutlery on line, very good prices.

May 13, 2009
mattrapp in Los Angeles Area

Has anyone tried Black Cat Bakery Stollen?

I wanted to post this last year, but time had gotten away. Has anyone had the stollen from the Black Cat Bakery in Montana(Missoula)? We got some a couple years ago, and being a stollenaphile, I think this may be the best I have ever had!!! We got it mail order on the reccomendation of a friend. We tried to order another one that same year but they told us they were sold out for the year. Last year we got our order in early enough to get a few of them. I don't think they have a store front , just the local farmers market and mail order. Has anyone tried these?

Nov 13, 2008
mattrapp in General Topics

Help with breaking bottled water habit...Safe Water Bottle?

I've been using a Sigg bottle, and have been very happy with it. No plastic like material to discover down the road is poisoning you.

Jun 18, 2008
mattrapp in Cookware

ok, how do i get a charcoal grill really hot?

Use lump charcoal. It has a much more intense heat than briquettes. It will burn faster too, so you will need to adjust your methods accordingly(it also lights faster and comes to temperature much more quickly). I also recommend a chimney starter, much better than starting fluids. Lump charcoal is becoming easier to find, Walmart even has it now, and usually as well, the local hardware store. It also imparts a great smoky flavor that you don't get from briquettes

May 02, 2008
mattrapp in Home Cooking

Samosa dough: what went wrong?

I would say the immediate problem was the lack of fat in the dough. You need shortening, or the like, to get the right texture. Otherwise it would be very dense and unappealing. Here is a very solid recipe from Julie Sahni that works like a champ.

5-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for dusting
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 Tbs. plain yogurt, mixed with 1/4 cup water
In a wide, shallow bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and drop the shortening into the well. Pick up some flour and fat in one hand. Rub the other hand lightly over this mixture, moving from heel to fingertips, letting the fat-coated flour fall back into the bowl. Pick up more fat and flour and continue this rubbing action until the flour is evenly coated; it should have a fine texture with no lumps.
Add the yogurt-water mixture a little at a time. Add just enough liquid until the dough comes together in a mass. Depending on the the flour and humidity, you may not need all the liquid; if you need more, add plain water a tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic. The dough is ready when it's no longer sticky and feels as soft as an earlobe, after about 5 minutes of kneading. Roll the dough into an 8-inch log, wrap it in plastic, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. (The dough can also be wrapped tightly and chilled for a day. Bring it to room temperature before continuing.)

I usually bypass the bowl mixing and do the whole thing in a food processor. It's quick and works quite well.

Apr 18, 2008
mattrapp in Home Cooking

what to do with dough that didn't rise?

Start another batch of new dough by incorporating the dud dough with the water for the new batch and twice the yeast. Proceed as normal, with a single batch's worth of ingredients, and you will have 4 loaves with a much better flavor having incorporated the old dough.

Apr 04, 2008
mattrapp in Home Cooking

L'École Culinaire???

I think there is quite abit more to consider to this argument. If your main focus is to only cook in a kitchen or run one(regardless of type), or own your own place, you can in fact get a great education through an "apprenticeship" approach. My experience has led me to the conclussion that a culinary degree from a sound school would trim about 8 years off of a non school path. With the cost of a degree from a good school these days, I am reserved in my recommendations to people who are looking for advice to take on this type of debt.
On the other side, there are vast advantages to attending a reputable program such as NECI,CIA or J&W. The doors that attending one of these schools can open are endless. You will get experience with equipment, kitchens, and techniques that you may never come across again, this helps build a great foundation. You will interact with people who will go on to do great things, and become a lifelong resource. And, this is where the "paper" does come into play, there is a whole culinary world out here that does not revolve around restaurant cooking. The list of culinary related jobs is enormous, and some of the really interesting ones do in fact require a culinary degree and often an association with related organizations. The job I currently have was achieved by holding a culinary degree and the experience. This position required both. Most all of the speciality jobs I am in contact with require a degree to even get an interview. Our field is no different than others, the more people who are interested in working within it, the higher the standards become from those who decide who they will hire.
I also would add that I wouldn't waste my money on a substandard program. There are culinary programs at every turn, but what you will get from them varies wildly. I would stick with a nationally/industry recognized program, as just about every local program is "the best in some area". Check out the Shaw Guide to culinary schools for more info.

Jan 15, 2008
mattrapp in Not About Food

A non-touristy, small town food mecca...?

If it is Italy you decide upon for your food excursion, make sure you get a copy of Osterie & Locande d 'Italia-A guide to traditional places to eat and stay in Italy. It is the best resource I know of for solid, local, places to eat all over Italy.

Jan 02, 2008
mattrapp in Italy

Vancouver For The Weekend

Check out Salt. It is in Blood Alley in the Gaslight area. Great atmosphere, and really nice pairings of artisin charcuterie and cheese with all the trimmings. Nice wine list also.

Need Kitchen Cabinets...Help!

I have done 4 kitchens with IKEA cabinetry, and have nothing but raves!!! They use one of the best European hardware components available. The quality is very good on the rest of the cabinet also. Great designs and HUGE savings. It is where I have steered any one asking about kitchens for the last 12 years!

Aug 30, 2007
mattrapp in Cookware

How old is too old to be admitted to cooking school?

My suggestion, based on the fact that you won't be doing this for a while, would be to volunteer in the kithcens of a few great restaurants in the meantime. This will give you insight into whether you really want to pursue this professionally, and give you some real world experience. Since you will be volunteering, you can work around your schedule. I have worked in many kitchens that the chefs have accepted folks under these conditions.

Aug 17, 2007
mattrapp in Not About Food

Grill Accessories

An EZQue rotisserie is the best I've found. You will be rotissing chickens with great regularity!

Aug 08, 2007
mattrapp in Cookware

Bravo Italiano

They are expanding pretty rapidly, I think they are closing in on the 40 unit mark, across a few states. Their food is very good for a multi unit operation. The owners are true food people, so they are pretty consistent with the quality and flavors.

Aug 03, 2007
mattrapp in Chains

How do I grill boneless country style pork ribs?

I guess I should have specified a bit more. The country ribs we have in this area have mostly the loin meat and we grill them rather quickly. If you have the blade end ones you would need to cook low and slow.

Aug 02, 2007
mattrapp in Home Cooking

How do I grill boneless country style pork ribs?

Grill as you would a pork chop. I prefer a dry rub to a marinade.

Aug 02, 2007
mattrapp in Home Cooking

Here is a challenge for you...

I just returned from Seattle with these exact same criteria. I was located closer to the market, but I walked to Pioneer Square most everyday. I walked all the time, never using other options. Here are the places I tried that would be accesable.
2.Matt's at the Market
4.Serious Pie
5.Chez Shea
6.Via Tribunali
7.Dahlia Lounge
8.Purple Cafe and Wine Bar
9.Jack's Fish Spot
10.Ivar's(just because)

I really enjoyed all of these, the only one I would not make much effort to get to again was Ivar's. I just happened to be there, so I tried it.

Aug 01, 2007
mattrapp in Pacific Northwest