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Pupusas in/near Seattle

Mi Chalateca has another place on Aurora Ave n, at about 97th. Theirs are the only pupusas I've ever eaten, but I liked them.

Dec 18, 2007
noahbirnel in Greater Seattle

Are the vitamins really just under the skin?

Mom & Dad always told us this about apples, potatoes, broccoli stems... I realized I had never heard or read this from a 'serious' source. Just googled a few phrases and got a lot of cooking sites, a few diet ones - no one but people who were just thoughtlessly tossing the phrase out. Is there any proof for this? What about oranges and other 'rindy' fruits?

Dec 18, 2007
noahbirnel in Not About Food

Miso Glazed?

Most things called 'miso glazed' are spread with a mixture of miso and honey (or brown sugar or mirin) before being baked, broiled or grilled.

I'm not sure you're going to find something in the supermarket called miso glaze. You just have to mix the miso and the honey together yourself.

Jul 28, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Where Foodies and Sports Nuts Intersect

But of course it is a sport, taking 'training, talent and ... physical endurance'. It is certainly more disgusting than many other sports, but not as immoral as, say, professional basketball (ever seen a municipal stadium deal?).

Jul 08, 2007
noahbirnel in Features

preserving some Jalapenos

And put them in a paper bag for a few minutes after you've blistered them. It seems to make the peeling easier.

Jun 10, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Help with pickling umeboshi

So I'm making umeboshi for the first time, and everything seemed to be working well for the first few weeks, and I just knocked the container over and spilled out most of the pickling liquor.

So I'm thinking what I do now is take the remaining liquid, measure it's specific gravity, make up a salt solution to match, and top up to the previous level. Will this work? Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Thanks for any help anyone can give me.

Jun 08, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Alternate uses for veggie burgers

Boca burgers chopped up are good in a Chinese stir-fry as 'chopped beef' if you amend them with plenty of garlic and Tianjin preserved vegetable.

May 07, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Mortar and Pestle Technique

I had the same problem, and always felt like it took a lot of effort to grind. Then I got a nice big mortar and pestle. If it's big, you can let the weight of the pestle do most of the work for you, and you can get a good grip on it, grinding with your arm instead of your wrist.

I still haven't figured out how to make the small one a pleasure to use. I am thinking maybe it is mainly meant to sit on the kitchen windowsill and look cool.

Apr 25, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Where's a good selection of kosher wines in Seattle?

Well, that's the whole question, really. Thanks for any help you can give!

Mar 31, 2007
noahbirnel in Pacific Northwest

Question re. Korean "fermented rice wine."

What I had was from a recipe in Fred Ekhardt's 'Sake USA'. The recipe is for 'Korean home-brewed Mak-joo / Makolee', and it uses rice, water, yeast, and Nu-Ruk enzyme. It created a sort of thin porridge. I wouldn't call it chunky, but it certainly had body.

Feb 11, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Question re. Korean "fermented rice wine."

Sorry. The unstrained product was gross to me. The strained stuff I enjoyed, but I am informed that this is very very un-Korean.

Feb 10, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Question re. Korean "fermented rice wine."

I'm sorry,'not to my taste' actually referred to the texture, not the taste. I made it myself frrom book instructions, so I can't say what the authentic product is like. I found the combination of alcohol and effervescent congee to be displeasing. So I strained the whole mess and wound up with a gallon of lightly effervescent sake-flavored rice water - which I was entirely happy to drink.

I think it was just different than what I am used to. It also tasted gross to me. How am I to differentiate the two?

Feb 09, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Mustard Oil

My Pakistani grocer very gravely pointed out the 'not for human consumption' label and then cheerfully told me that he cooks with it all the time. He says the oil can be imported legally for cosmetic use. In one quart jars. Heh.

I have used it for years without apparent ill effect, but I don't know if the ban is about acute or chronic toxicity - or just the squeamishness that seems to affect our government about all things yummy.

Jan 30, 2007
noahbirnel in General Topics

Two pounds of ricotta

My wife needed a little bit of ricotta for a casserole, and the big container was cheaper than the little one. Got a good cheesecake recipe, or some other destination for nearly two pounds of ricotta?

Jan 29, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Old-Tyme Flavor

If your iron isn't seasoned well, acid foods will definitely pick up metallic tastes and gray colors.

Jan 28, 2007
noahbirnel in Features

Vegetarian Cookbook without garlic?

Yes, asafoetida, and keep it double wrapped. Do you use the powdered stuff or the solid chunks? The powdered usually is cut with starch and may be less stinky in the cupboard. But I have found it a very useful spice for vegetarian cooking in general. That, black salt, and miso are secret weapons for adding 'meaty' flavor to dishes that might otherwise use meat stocks. Smoked paprika gives your bacon action. (Or lox trimmings if you eat fish.)

Yamuna Devi's book is great, and has changed a lot of my non-Indian cooking too.

Getting over the garlic-in-every-dish obsession has vastly improved my cooking. I still love garlic, but no longer view it as culinary panacea.

Jan 22, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Dried Beans – to soak or not to soak, that is the question

'Removes', or 'destroys'? Are we talking soak, drain, add new water, and cook? Or soak and cook?

Jan 22, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Dried Beans – to soak or not to soak, that is the question

What is the additional step? When you soak you just wait a few hours between two steps in unsoaked beans. The savings are in cooking time and fuel - not time elapsed from the first thought of cooking beans.

Jan 18, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

nopalitos: too slimy!

Well I tried out the roasting out of curiosity. It does, indeed, reduce the drippyness, but I find the interior texture still mucilagenous. It was great in tacos with raw onions.

So how are they cooked in Mexico, do you know?

Jan 17, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

chicken soup from leftover roasted chicken

Some people don't salt until the very end of the process - the idea being that if you reduce the stock too much after it's been salted... you get salty broth.

Jan 15, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Dried Beans – to soak or not to soak, that is the question

I can't detect any difference between soaked and unsoaked beans. So I soak, to save money on fuel. And I don't throw out the soaking water, I cook the beans in it.

Jan 15, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking
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Question re. Korean "fermented rice wine."

There is Korean sake, and there are various Korean rice wines that are different than sake or Shaoshing... but the introduction description of 'thick' implies that they are talking about mak jiu (sp?), which I think is usually homemade. It is a sort of an alcoholic porridge. I bought the 'enzyme' (that's the only English on the package, and I don't know any Korean) at the local Korean grocery. The fermentation takes only a few days. The stuff is not to my taste, unlike other storebought Korean rice wines I've had.

Mak jiu is a live product, and it sounds like that's the important part. I'm sure the taste would be different, but a splash of sake for flavor and some yeast or sourdough for rising might be a reasonable substitute.

Jan 15, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Candied Garlic Recipe

"Quick & Easy Tsukemono" has a recipe for garlic in honey - the cloves are peeled, covered with honey, and stored for a month.

Jan 15, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

making whey?

It's thin, and clear (-ish), and in my experience yellowish. But I have to admit I'm paying a lot more attention to the curds than to the whey most of the time.

Jan 13, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

dishes with edamame?

Any time I want shellies, but can't get them. I put em in minestrone, in omelettes, in succotash...

Jan 07, 2007
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

nopalitos: too slimy!

Yeah, don't cook nopalitos if you don't want slimy. Like okra, the point of the vegetable is it's texture.

Dec 30, 2006
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Making Miso from Scratch - want to give it a go

The Book of Miso by Shurtleff & Aoyagi is very informative. I still haven't made it, though, because I'm not sure what I would do with two gallons of miso.

Dec 16, 2006
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Know a good candy cookbook or candy website?

The fudge and the caramel are no problem, but Joy's ominous and vague warnings about the weather are spooking me about fondants etc. Anyone know where to get detailed and authoritative information about the strange behavior of sugar crystals and chocolate?

Nov 28, 2006
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

Tough Turkey

I think some turkeys might be just plain tough. Last year I sampled some Diestel (sp?) that was raved about by everyone else at the table. Me, being a dark meat fan, tried leg meat, and was disappointed. This year I cooked a Diestel leg and was similarly disappointed. I begin to wonder if teh new 'high quality' turkeys need to be jointed and cooked separately - dark meat stewed, light meat roasted.

Was the whole turkey tough? What sort of a turkey was it?

Nov 28, 2006
noahbirnel in Home Cooking

What to do with two cups fresh lemon juice?

Ok, this is all good. I am sorry for those who had more romantic suggestions, but I ended up freezing half of it in the ice-cube tray, and pouring the rest into a small lidded jar for the fridge. I've used a few tablespoons for this and that, and figure I will continue to do so. But the lemon syrup sounds tempting.

Nov 28, 2006
noahbirnel in Home Cooking