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What size dutch oven for a bachelor or pair?

My current roommate wants to get into cooking and buy a dutch oven, and he, like me, is a clinical bachelor. I'm only living with him a little while, and he wants to continue using it by himself after I'm gone. Most of the dutch oven/cocotte recipes we're interested in were designed for 6-8, not 1-2. Should we just buy a 2 quart? If so, how do you scale down a dutch oven braise or cocotte to smaller portions? We're not sure if you scale down the liquids with the rest of the ingredients, or how you adjust cooking temperature and time.

Nov 19, 2008
twitchology in Cookware

How to bake pumpkin pie without a crust

I'm a crust guy over a filling guy when it comes to pie, and love a good flaky, buttery, salty crust. My mom makes a good one and I'm working on getting to down, but I'd also like to know how I can bake pumpkin pie filling (preferably in a round dish with straight sides) without a crust. Thanks for any suggestions.

Oct 19, 2008
twitchology in Home Cooking

Deep frying Dunlop Debaucle

Disclaimer: I don't have an aversion to deep fried foods and view cooking failures as a learning experience.

I seriously screwed up Fuschia Dunlop's recipe for General Tso's chicken.

The potato flour in my marinade stuck in clumps to the chicken. I presume it's supposed to be an evenly coated batter. This came out super thick.

The same thing happened with my sauce. I stirred it as the chicken was frying and it wouldn't blend. I ended up removing a big ball of potato flour as I was in a hurry to get it into the wok.

This is my first time deep frying anything. What I am doing wrong? I noticed the cookbook calls for potato flour, but the recipe posted on serious eats ( as well as the video ( she calls for potato starch. I understand these to be two different things. Would the flour make things thicker than the starch? Could I be over mixing the marinade?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. There is no good Chinese food in my state, and I'm really invested in making it at home. Food should make people happy rather than give them a stomach ache :(

Here are some pictures of my failed product. Note the dark clumps of flour.

Aug 23, 2008
twitchology in Home Cooking

Milky Way Midnight at home?

A good friend of mine loves these, and I'd like to make her a batch with quality ingredients. I recall that Chow published some homemade candy bar recipes a while back, but this bar was not amongst those listed.

Aug 22, 2008
twitchology in Home Cooking

Longevity of chocolate truffles?

How long can I expect these puppies to last in the fridge? No preservatives that I can tell.

Aug 22, 2008
twitchology in Home Cooking

Chinese groceries/mushrooms online

Hey everyone,

I'm starting a Chinese cooking binge and am having a hard time finding ingredients in my vicinity (or at least at a reasonable price).

I'm looking for

Dried cloud ears
Dried silver ears
Gao cao? aka Chinese cardamom
Camellia oil
Chinkiang (black vinegar - looking for unsweetened, I can only find sweetened)
Pickled chili paste (is this better than regular chili paste?)
Preserved mustard tuber
Dou bao (dried bean curd sheets, I think it's the same as yuba)

Thanks for any suggestions!

Aug 21, 2008
twitchology in General Topics

Leaving SFO over a much time should I afford?

Thanks, everyone, for your input. I'm convinced to stay put. Yankee Pier looks delicious but expensive. I have the bad fortune of ending up with over priced beer and a caesar salad (Laurelwood at PDX, Anchor at SFO, Sam Adams/Expedia at SJC) everytime I'm stuck in an airport. Any good recs for SFO? I've done some searches, yes, but the best I can find is "Outlet X wont' kill ya."


Woohoo, actually found a self-titled thread to work with.

I leave town in a couple of days and this is one of my last unturned stones. A few questions:

What is the difference between BBQ and regular? I don't really like sweet/vinegary style BBQ.

Chicken, beef, or both? What's on the veggie? I don't like dry meat.

I already know I'm gunning for extra hot :)


Leaving SFO over a much time should I afford?

I land at 9.30 AM and take off again at 12.45 PM (on United; Terminal 3, I believe). I've never let an airport for Chow, but I'm really hankering for In-N-Out. I understand there's one just off the Millbrae station. Plenty of time to get there before they open at 10.30, but as I've said, I've never let during a lay over. Can I get a separate boarding pass and jump straight to security? Do I have to wait in the ticketing line again? You can tell that I'm a simpleton who doesn't travel much.

Ten best things to eat in Boston

Any particular way to order at Chacarero? Which protein?

Irish bars

I'm not expecting Irish people or Irish Disneyland, but is there a bar here that's more County Clare than quesadilla? Kinsale's like a green Chili's.

The 8 Cuisines of China in Boston?

Does anyone else besides Zoe's do good Hunan? I am enticed by the varieties of spicy chicken and would appreciate being steered to a dish and a place to obtain it :)

Flounder at Jo Jo Taipei?

I'm pretty sure the watercress on the menu does not refer to the western variety I'm familiar with, but can anyone tell me if it's sweet or bitter? The cabbage I had at Jo Jo was lamentably too sweet for me. As a fun aside, they made me eggdrop soup the other day by request when I was one of two tables in the house :) How nice! It was really good, too.

Fat Tire Beer?

Absolutely - there's no reason not to be honest. I just don't like it when someone says it as a poser, which I find to be increasingly frequent these days. I wasn't trying to intimidate or disparage anyone who actually understands (or wants to understand) the beer they're drinking. There's a lot of kick, mostly from wine enthusiasts who find Chimay in the wine shop, that Belgian beers are the "best", and then alot of people follow that lead.

Fat Tire Beer?

New Belgium doesn't distribute to the east coast, and I don't want to sound like a jerk, but you should branch out anyways. Fat Tire was one of my starter beers when I was a squirt, and it's a good gateway to much much much better craft brews (most enthusiasts agree that its the bottom of the barrel).

Fat Tire is somewhat unique in that its malt has a more biscuity and toasty flavor than other beers, but if you want a malt-forward beer, New England is the place to be. There are a lot of malty beers here (not my style, being from the west coast, but I certainly respect them). Go to the Wine Gallery on Boylston; the one in Kenmore is way too focused on Belgians (aside: alot of people carry Belgian beers exclusively when they want to sell a quality product. American craft beers are much more diverse, design-oriented, and innovative. Saying "I like Belgian beers" will make you look like a douche to most beer enthusiasts, because it's a country, not a style, and it's an easy buy-in, like saying "I like French wine"). Tell the staff you want something more sophisticated than Fat Tire. They will be happy to oblige, as I spent about 10 minutes lambasting the beer with them last week.

One pie to rule them all

Not looking for a slice, so I hope its OK to start a new thread. I'm going to be NYC for a day visiting Columbia and staying with someone in western Manhattan. They have offered to take me out to a pizza place of my choosing (I'm on the dole and am privileged to have their hospitality). I understand the big three to be Una Pizza Napoletana, DiFara's, and Totonno's.

When I was employed and stationary I was a regular at Apizza Scholl's in Portland, so I have been pretty spoiled. What would you suggest I select out of these three? Which is the most true to New York? Which is the most delicious? (I think the which is most true to Italy question is already answered by Napoletana).

Aug 07, 2008
twitchology in Manhattan

Shanghai Gate

A man can only eat so much - tomorrow I'm definitely trying the lions heads, but do I accompany it with Shanghai-style soup, or dumplings? If the latter, what kind? I'm not seeing beggar's chicken or crispy chicken on the menu - do they offer those?

Bartley's burgers -- currently in 2nd place

I'm one of those folks who never orders a burger when I'm out - I'm too happy with my own, although occasionally I'll order a bistro-style burger at a high end restaurant when I hear there's something unique about it (although I'm usually disappointed. I did this with the Radius burger).

I didn't make it to Bartley's while I was in Cambridge. Is it really a must-do in the area, or is it more or less just another burger when you get down to the food? Does it have a nice crispy outside and a nice rarish inside?

Steak Frites & Frisee aux Lardons--compare & contrast

excellent - was the salad entrée sized or app sized?


I had my first Speed dog the other day from the apprentice. The casing was torn off in a few places, not sure what happened there. I had it with the works.

The toppings all go well together. I can't imagine subtracting one or using one exclusively, they have an excellent balance going.

Over all, though, I was highly underwhelmed. The flavors all seemed very muted, even if the toppings went well together and with the hot dog. I'm not a big toppings guy, but for some reason this didn't seem that flavorful - the hot dog was meaty but also not very flavorful by itself (just as well; some hot dogs are miss seasoned and have a bad aftertaste, whereas this finished pretty clean).

I dunno, I love every dog and sausage I meet, and this was good, just not a religious experience for me. I do appreciate that the dog is more than 1/8 or 1/4 lb, I usually want about 1/3 lb sausage (the apprentice told me that theirs clocked in at over 1/2 lb).

I really want to join the cult, but I can't :(

Antico Forno - disappointing

So many threads on this place, hard to pick one, but this has a common theme of disappointment. I'm going to take an unpopular swing at their pizza. The dough, like their bread, is simplistic and unidimensional in flavor (I've noticed this with the bread at alot of places in town - Italy has a great baking tradition and its been neglected everywhere I've been). It's crispy enough to last a minute or two but falls under the sauce after that. The sauce is a little sweet, its main problem is runniness and excess portioning as described here before. The pizza is cooked more than American pies but adequately enough to be authentic, IMHO. They should use real oregano on the Napoletana. I would definitely choose Regina over this, but Gran Gusto still beats both by a mile.

Morning buns from Clear Flour Bakery

It's very similar to a croissant dough but is more crispy and better executed than their croissants. I've been trying alot of their baked goods now, and while the others haven't been able to compete with [blah blah blah Portland has lots of artisan bakers better than everyone else blah blah blah New York Times blah], the morning buns are exceptional and right up there with the best baked goods I've ever had (aside from being spoiled by Portland, I used to live a couple doors down from Poilane's second location in the 15th - not trying to show off, just show that I've been spoiled and I think these are as good as the other luxuries I've had the privilege of enjoying). Wow, that's a really round about way of saying these are really fucking good. Just the right size so you don't over do it, light, flaky, not too sweet - sometimes I find they're a bit short on the nuts for my preference, but other than that I think they're a home run.

Clear Flour Golden Fruit Tea Bread

I am but one person and cannot justify buying a whole loaf of this, but if anyone is there tomorrow and would like to share a loaf, please give me a shout :)

What did I just eat a Sichuan Garden?

Well, I had the Chongqing tonight, and was surprised because I didn't think it was very spicy. At first I thought they had misunderstood me and given me the Chengdu, but my receipt showed it was Chongqing. Anyways, I didn't break a sweat, so I wonder if they toned it down or if it's a west-coast palate vs. east-coast palate kind of thing (I've noticed the same thing with Mexican food). I'm not trying to sound boisterous or show off. It was, however, ridiculously tasty. I can never finish a whole plate of Chinese food but I polished this one off. The chicken was nice and crisp, although I wish I had a few big pieces instead of a lot of little pieces so it would taste more chickeny - the spice paste wasn't overwhelming the flavor of the chicken; I tried a few pieces without it and they weren't very flavorful. Anyways, the chili paste was definitely the star of the show. I wish I could put it on my toast in the morning. After this and Mulan, I'm really enthusiastic about being in a town with real Chinese food. I come from Oregon and the offerings there are incredibly feeble.

What did I just eat a Sichuan Garden?

I'm confused - what is the difference between the Chengdu and the Chongding? I might be going tonight - any good mild veggie dishes to help balance the humors?

Providence pizza

Sorry, I'm referring to grilled.

Best Pizza

Huge vote for Gran Gusto.

Quiet watering hole with craft beer?

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm in Brookline now.

Providence pizza

I know there are a couple threads on this, but I'm looking for some more solid info. Who does the best (or most authentic; these descriptors aren't always the same) Providence style pizza (rather than imitating New York/Connecticut style). Also, any tips about waiting lines or what to order would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Quiet watering hole with craft beer?

Hey everybody, I have a bunch of reading and writing to do today and would like to do it someplace quiet with a strong AC and good beer. Any ideas?